One in 10 college students faces menstrual poverty. To combat this, students and staff have started the period fairness movement to provide individuals with menstrual products and education about menstruation.
A Georgia Southern student is on a mission to positively impact the community by working to end the stigma around menstruation and reduce the number of people who fear they can’t afford the products they need when their period comes. each month.
Gabi Wiggill, a young public health student, has the passion and drive to focus on this issue that people usually turn a blind eye to.
Her interest in period stocks was first sparked after watching the Netflix documentary titled “Period. End of Sentence. which was about how in India menstruation is very taboo and young girls should stop going to school because they do not have access to menstrual products.
Wiggill described, “I’ve had periods all my life, and I understand the stress and embarrassment and all that, but I’ve never been in the position where I didn’t have the products I needed. need. And when I really sat down and thought how different my life would be, how hard it would be, I started crying because I couldn’t imagine the pain and suffering these women are going through , because it’s completely out of their control that they get their periods.
She pointed out that as a child she was privileged to have her family always buy what she needed and educate her on the rules. But not everyone had that same luxury.
“We try to eliminate that with Rules Fairness by providing everyone with the products they need, so that we are all on equal footing when it comes to approaching our lives with Rules” , she said.
Wiggill began raising awareness about menstrual poverty when she was a freshman, but it wasn’t until faculty and staff heard about her work that the period equity movement saw the light of day. day as a cross-campus initiative.
“For me, it’s beautiful to see how a collaborative project like this has come to fruition, and I simply couldn’t have done it without the support of these amazing people,” said Wiggill.
Many different departments and individuals on campus, including the Dean’s Office of Students, Sustain Southern, the Office of Inclusive Excellence, Dr. Gemma Skuraton, Director of Student Welfare and Health Promotion, Dr. Addie Martindale, Professor in the College of Behavioral and Social Sciences and more worked together to secure funds for the period pantries and the movement as a whole.
The Period Fairness Movement was officially launched the last week of January with educational talks and talks to work towards raising awareness and destigmatizing periods.
Wiggill and other contributors have emphasized inclusiveness. They avoid certain stereotypes, traditional pronouns and offer a wide range of products suitable for everyone.
She went on to say, “It’s not one size fits all, it’s not going to work with one product for every student on campus. We want to make sure that we meet the needs of our students and know that they are diverse.
The Period Equity Movement’s dedication to helping members of the GS community can truly be seen in its three main projects. These projects include the Eco Pantry, the Disposable Pantry, and Take-To-The-Bathroom Vintage Products, all aimed at giving students access to the products they need.
The Green Period Pantry offers reusable sanitary napkins and menstrual cups in various sizes and has seven locations on the Statesboro campus. They even provide low-key locations, like the Eagle Essentials Advice Center and Pantry, for those who don’t feel comfortable asking someone in person for vintage products.
Students can quickly grab what they need at the moment from any bathroom on campus, or students can go to the pantry located on each campus in the library to stock up on essentials. hygiene disposables like tampons and sanitary napkins. All types of products offered are free for all students.
By distributing free menstrual products on campus, Wiggill is conducting research to find out if it has an effect on menstrual poverty and helps people who are financially insecure. If so, this data can help inspire other institutions to do the same for their students.
“We can’t let our students’ anatomy become their adversity,” Wiggill said. “It’s a matter of fairness. You have to try to put everyone on the same level whether you have your period or not. Having a period shouldn’t hold you back at all. It shouldn’t affect your grades or anything like that.
College students shouldn’t have to choose between buying food for the week or buying vintage products. She also stressed the importance of all people caring about this topic because everyone in the community knows someone who is menstruating, even if it doesn’t affect them directly.
“If you don’t care, and if I don’t care, then who will?” said Wiggill.
She encourages students to reach out and be part of this movement, to work to end the stigma around menstruation and reduce the effects of period poverty. To get involved or for more information, email Wiggill at [email protected]