Black and marginalized communities in Canada and the USA are disproportionately affected by period poverty and face additional barriers to accessing menstrual products and education due to economic inequality, discrimination, and historical injustices.
In both countries, Black and Indigenous people, as well as people of color, are more likely to live in poverty and experience economic instability. This can make it difficult to afford menstrual products, which can lead to the use of unsafe alternatives or the need to miss school or work during menstruation. Additionally, systemic racism and discrimination can make it more difficult for people in marginalized communities to access the resources they need, including menstrual products.
In honor of Black History Month, we’re giving a shout-out to Black and Women-led organizations leading the charge for period equity within Black communities. These organizations understand firsthand the additional barriers Black menstruators endure as they work to promote menstrual equity and address the related systemic issues.
Black Girl Collective, Canada
Black Girl Collective is centered around mentorship, special events, the pursuit of joy, and community to uplift all Black women. Their initiatives around wellness incorporate period products as part of their larger commitment to bringing communities together and helping each other out. We’re proud to partner with Black Girl Collective as a period care distribution partner. You can support Black Girl Collective here.
Help A Girl Out, Canada
Help A Girl Out (HAGO) was founded by Yanique Brandford, a biomedical physics student at Ryerson University. Brandford grew up in Jamaica where she was used to using paper and cardboard for her period but when she moved to Canada, she quickly learned that period poverty is a global issue—and she set about to change it.
HAGO so far serves Canada, the Caribbean, and some African countries by distributing hundreds of thousands of menstrual products since 2018. HAGO accepts donations here.
Black Women's Health Imperative, USA
Black Women’s Health Imperative has been dedicated to improving the health and wellness of the 21 million Black women and girls in America through physical, emotional, and financial support for over 40 years! This national organization advocates for policies and programs that support Black women's health and wellness, including menstrual health and equity. They work to raise awareness about period poverty and related issues and push for policies that expand access to menstrual products and education. Donate to Black Women’s Health Imperative here.
# HappyPeriod, USA
#HappyPeriod is a nonprofit organization centered around creating a Black Menstrual Movement through health education, advocacy, and access. Their youth-centric services work to empower Black, Latinx, and Indigenous between the ages of 9-24 through period kits and workshops. Donate to #HappyPeriod here.
No More Secrets, Philadelphia, USA
Founded by Lynette Medley, No More Secrets is dedicated to decreasing uterine care and menstrual health disparities within communities in need. Their initiative #BlackGirlsBleed shares stories of how the systematic racism Black communities experience contributes to period poverty and to break menstrual stigmas. In addition to menstrual education, providing resource guides to health care, and delivering period products to those in need, they also provide access to clean water and resting stations. To donate to No More Secrets, visit here.
Black Period Project, North Carolina, USA
Black Period Project is on a mission to make period products accessible to Black girls, women, and trans men. It was founded by Lena Vann, a full-time Supply Chain and Marketing student at NCATSU who started the Black Period Project when she was just a freshman. She doesn’t want any menstruating kid to live their lives in fear of leaving a stain. This non-profit provides period care kits to youth centers and shelters, provides education, and advocates for legislative changes in their state. To donate to the Black Period Project, visit here.
What else can be done?
Addressing period poverty in marginalized communities requires a multifaceted approach that addresses both the underlying systemic issues that perpetuate inequality and the immediate need for menstrual products. This can include initiatives such as providing free menstrual products in schools and public restrooms, eliminating taxes on menstrual products, and supporting grassroots organizations that provide menstrual products and education to marginalized communities.
By prioritizing menstrual equity and addressing the unique challenges faced by Black and marginalized communities, we can work toward a more just and equitable society for all individuals who menstruate.