New ASU student organization advocates for menstrual hygiene

There's a new movement coming to ASU this school year: the menstrual movement.

A new organization on campus wants to talk about periods.

The fall marks the inaugural semester for ASU's chapter of PERIOD, a student-run nonprofit organization that advocates for menstrual health and hygiene and provides menstrual products to those in need.

Eudora Olsen, programs director for PERIOD, which has 52 chapters nationwide, said she has high hopes for the organization and its cause. She said her passion stems from the wide-reaching impact of the issue.

“Everyone has a mother. Everyone has a sister. Everyone has a cousin who is female-bodied. Everyone has female friends,” Olsen said. “Why I’m passionate about it is because this is an issue that touches on so many different spheres of influence, from health concerns to environmental concerns all the way to education.”  

According to its website, PERIOD's members are “a young group of activists across the U.S. united by the belief that menstrual care is a basic right."

In the future, PERIOD hopes to hold community drives and distribute feminine products to those in need through working with homeless and women’s shelters throughout the Valley, said Dylan Carter, a journalism sophomore and member of the club. He said he joined the club because of the opportunity to advocate for an issue that often gets ignored.

Kyra Rial, a digital culture sophomore, said that although she isn't a club member she agrees with and supports the PERIOD's mission and goals.

“One of the pinnacle things that people forget when it comes to poverty-stricken and homeless women is the need for menstrual products,” Rial said. “A lot of times they have to choose between eating or buying menstrual products.” 

But Olsen said the menstrual movement is more than just focusing on periods.

“This movement is not just about those who menstruate,” Olsen said. “It’s about a human need that is regularly neglected and especially affects those on the outskirts of society.” 

While PERIOD is unique in its focus on feminine care products for the less privileged, it isn’t the first ASU group to advocate for menstrual health. The Period Project, which started in spring of 2017, has similar goals.

“Unfortunately, our society doesn’t think of this aspect of women’s health because it’s taboo,” Carter said. “Many men are often uncomfortable with the subject, but as someone who grew up with strong female figures around me, I always want to help women.”

Carter said he's hoping that PERIOD garners both male and female support across campus.

“It’s definitely a women’s issue — which is why men should get involved,” Carter said. “Just because it’s labeled a women’s issue doesn’t mean it’s only for women to fight for.”

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