Campaign addresses menstrual hygiene management

Arpan Yagnik and Arpan Yagnik

Menstruation is a neglected social issue, one that we as society have to address seriously.

Something the reader should understand very clearly is that menstruation by itself is not an issue.

The stigma, the lack of access to sanitary hygiene products, the misconception, lack of education and knowledge, the senseless restrictions imposed on women during menstruation, the feelings of shame, guilt, impurity and low self-esteem that accompany menstruation and the lack of toilets and private spaces to manage menstruation make it an issue.

Readers here in the U.S. may not have been sensitized enough about what kind of a menace dealing with menstruation can be for a woman.

There are approximately 36 million men and women on food stamps, which add up to a little more than 10 percent of the total U.S. population. What do women in shelters and other facilities do during their menstruation? What do unemployed, homeless and poor single women do in the U.S. to manage menstruation? The answer is they suffer.

A campaign, by the name “Keep It Flowing!” was initiated by a student at the University in collaboration with the Women’s Center to address the issue of the lack of access to sanitary products.

“Keep It Flowing!” was conceptualized based on the simple Robinhood model of taking from the individuals who have it and can afford it and then passing it on to the individuals who do not have it.

However, the fundamental distinction here is that products are not stolen from the individuals who have it or can afford it. They are politely and humbly asked to donate the products if they are willing to help sustain “Keep It Flowing!”. “Keep It Flowing!” supplies sanitary products to the marginalized women primarily in Bowling Green and the Wood County area. “Keep It Flowing!” has decided to support women statewide and aspires to do so nationally.

The purpose of “Keep It Flowing!” is to reduce health issues in women. To achieve the purpose, it specifically focuses on menstruation and related health issues. The goal is to increase the usage of hygienic/sanitary means of managing menstruation among poor women.

The two main partnering entities for this campaign so far are Women’s Center at the University, which will be the home for this initiative and engage in storage and dissemination part of the campaign. Panhellenic Council at the University is the second partner that is doing a phenomenal job of collecting sanitary products. School of Media and Communication and Latino Student Union have recently expressed their intent to support this campaign and contribute to its success.

So far “Keep It Flowing!” has collected over 5,000 sanitary hygiene products from different sources. “Keep It Flowing!” has also supplied close to 1,500 sanitary hygiene products. Some of the places “Keep It Flowing!” has collaborated with and supplied sanitary products in Bowling Green are the Cocoon Shelter, Youth and Young Adult Resource Center, Salvation Army, Food pantry, Cleveland Shelter and Project Homeless Connect.

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