Feminine Supplies and Distributing Dignity

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In Germany last fall, I had a great time photographing ladies room doors. I also picked up the above bag. Look at all those languages! Women, everywhere, experience periods. Once home, I began pondering how other cultures regard menstruation. I found this article in the Huffington Post.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/07/14/menstruation-myths_n_7495568.html

The article not only describes the menstruation hardships of women in other cultures, but it points back to the United States. Homeless and low income women here often can’t buy the supplies they need, and they may not have access to showers and clean towels. Here’s an article in MS Magazine.

Distributing Dignity is an organization that collects bras and tampons/pads.Their mission is to help women who are:

  • In and Aging out of foster care
  • Seeking refuge from domestic violence or abuse
  • Homeless: veterans, teens and others
  • Struggling with life altering illness
  • Displaced by disaster

 Read more about the work they do here.

Distributing Dignity

Your local food bank or shelter welcomes donations of feminine supplies. We regularly donate food, but I have never taken sanitary supplies. I think this is partly because they are so expensive, which is the whole point! Women need them.

I’m also wondering if middle schools and high schools would appreciate donations of feminine supplies. Any teachers out there know the answer?

15 responses »

  1. We used to gather feminine supplies for women at church didn’t we? We should start doing that again. Wonderful idea and thank you for the inspiration, Barbara! We can all relate!

  2. Thanks for spotlighting this concern. You are right, I didn’t realize that period supplies would be helpful, although now it seems obvious to me!I will follow the comments to learn more!

  3. Thanks for drawing attention to this. I guess we can all remember the odd occasion when were ‘caught short’ and had to improvise for a short while (thankfully never more than a couple of hours in my case), but imagine not having suitable supplies for a whole cycle!!

    I’ve got at least two unopened boxes of tampons (one at home and one in my office drawer) which I will donate to a local food bank.

    With regard to attitudes to menstruation, here in the UK, it’s definitely changed during the decades since I went through puberty. My mothers generation referred to it as ‘The Curse and only spoke about it in hushed tones. I guess it’s easy to forget that it’ still like that in some cultures.

    • My mom called it The Curse too! I had a hard time as a teenager because I didn’t feel comfortable discussing it with her. She got better after I started the blog when I was in my fifties and she was in her eighties!

      • My mum hadn’t discussed it with me before I started either, but luckily I knew the basics from school.

  4. It’s sad to see here in India. While attitudes are changing in the urban areas, I visited rural schools last year as part of a government initiative to help empower low-income teenage girls. The Indians I went with explained that many girls think they shouldn’t go to school while menstruating. It’s still very much taboo. These Indians distributed informational pamphlets, but said it was hard to get the young girls engaged during the information sessions.

    I guess it becomes easy to forgot that sometimes these problems exist in the US as well. While we are more free to speak about these issues, God-forbid anyone have an accident. Glad to see some organizations are trying to help provide sanitary products!

  5. As a high school teacher (and former middle school teacher), I have always just purchased pads to keep in my desk drawer. I probably have a student ask for one once every couple weeks. I know that most of my female coworkers do the same.

    The school nurse has a supply too, and I know she provides entire boxes for lower income students.

    Like with most teachers, I spend lots of my own money for school supplies. While pads aren’t sold at Staples (that I know of), I consider them to be a necessary supply for my students.

  6. Reading a magazine on homesteading and saw an ad in back for: Handmade, Washable & Reusable Feminine Hygiene Products & Incontinece Pads by “Naturally Cozy” with a website,
    just a thought. I’d never given much thought about how the ladies in the olden days took care of their feminine needs.

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