Mercyhurst holds period product drive for Women’s History Month

Vydalia Weatherly, Staff writer

March is Women’s History Month. Starting in 1911, International Women’s Day was celebrated globally on March 8. In 1980,  

President Jimmy Carter made a Presidential Proclamation establishing. Women’s History Week in the United States, aligning with International Women’s Day. In 1987, National Women’s History Week became a month-long celebration. 

During the week of March 14-18, Multicultural Student Services host a Period Product Drive.  

For those who are unfamiliar with a Period Product drive, it is “where you collect unopened menstrual products (sanitary pads, tampons, or menstrual cups) to donate to local women’s shelters or organizations that provide aid to people who have periods,” said Jessica Hubert, the Multicultural and Inclusion Coordinator for Mercyhurst.  

“In some states, period products are considered luxury items and therefore have extra taxes added onto them, making it difficult for some folks to purchase them.” 

Hubert pushed for the drive to happen and helped to organize the event.  

I believed it was important to host a menstrual products drive this year because of the impact the pandemic has had on the local community. Womxn have to purchase these products sometimes on a monthly basis and they can be expensive, especially now due to the high rate of inflation. I intentionally advertised the drive to include all folks who have periods, not just people who identify as women,” said Hubert.   

The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has negatively impacted people’s ability to purchase menstrual products.  

A third of people have struggled to purchasefeminine hygiene products during the lockdown,” according to a recent Forbes article.  

However, inaccessibility to period products have been a problem in the United States and worldwide prior to the United States as well.  

Many individuals are unaware of the fact that period poverty in the United States is real. Often viewed as an issue faced primarily by individuals in developing countries, many are shocked to learn that nearly only one in five American girls have either left school early or missed school entirely due to a lack of access to menstrual products. The “tampon tax,” a tax on menstrual products that currently exists in 36 states, further aggravates the issue, and in a country where nearly 14 percent of girls and women live below the poverty line compared to just 11 percent of boys and men, it is crucial for menstrual equity to exist” wrote Shruti Sathish in a 2019 Women’s eNews article.  

The fight for menstrual equity has been occurring for decades and still continues today. 

“In a society where women are taught to hide their period, working to end menstrual stigma is very important to achieve menstrual equity. Many students agree that menstrual health is often glazed over and inadequately addressed in their middle school and high school health education classes. Creating a welcoming, trusting, and open environment is the first step to effectively educating both girls and boys on this topic and the stigma that currently surrounds it. When students can learn from one another through thoughtful and meaningful conversation, it is possible to form a collaborative community that is capable of creating change” wrote Sathish. 

In total, the university collected 35 individual boxes of products. The number of items inside each box ranges from 45 to 100 items.  

For those looking for events to celebrate the remainder of National Women’s History Month, the Department of World Languages and Cultures will be hosting a poetry night on March 23.