This Black History Month Celebrate Black Businesses and Organizations That Are Making a Difference and Creating Impact Towards the End of Period Poverty.
Since 2018, Free Flow has distributed over 50, 000 period products around the world. As an organization focused on menstrual injustice and inequity, the work that we commit ourselves to has changed the lives of thousands of women and girls. Unfortunately, there are few organizations that accept the challenge of working towards ending the systemic inequalities relating to periods, and even fewer are black led-- despite black and brown women disproportionately being impacted by period poverty.
Thats is why this Black History Month, Free Flow is excited to highlight black- women led organizations committed towards ending period poverty.
Menstruating While Black
According to the National Library of Medicine, period poverty is defined as: "...the lack of access to safe and hygienic menstrual products during monthly periods and inaccessibility to basic sanitation services or facilities as well as menstrual hygiene education." Statistically, women who are Black (35%) or Hispanic (36%) are more likely to struggle with period poverty, compared to those who are White (23%) as stated by the Ballard Brief at BYU. They also noted a study conducted in 2019 found that "...64% of menstruators noted that they struggled to afford menstrual products within the last year."
Here at Free Flow, as Black women who have personally experienced menstruation and its effects and symptoms for decades individually, we strive to create equitable access to supplies to support girls and women through their menstruation journey. When you add the increase in cost of consumables, effects of war and import and the supply deserts (both food and health) created by socio-economics, the gap for those unable to maintain sanitary menstruation practices grow. That growth can lead to greater risk of reproductive and overall disease and ailments.
Due to the lack of visibility and support regarding menstrual hygiene management, it is often left up to local organizations, and the community to prioritize the need of sanitary products to those impacted. This takes a collective effort. From organizations focused on policy and legislation to organizations that are grass-root led and ensure access of products directly into the hands of menstruators, no effort is too great or too small.
By taking on the responsibility to close the gap, Free Flow, hopes to not only fill a void where there is need, but also collaborate with others committed to the work. It is our mission to bridge the gap and create a community that works towards equity and sustainable access for all, but especially black women.
To do this, we are focused on community outreach which include partnering with universities and other non profit organizations to create menstruation bags available to students and youth; hosting period parties that educate adolescent menstruators on truth and myths as they prepare and learn to care for themselves during menstruation; and service-learning trips that lead to international education and assistance.
How You Can Make A Difference?
We cannot do this work alone and every supporter is a needed contribution, to not only carry the conversation but continue the tide of change. If you would like to join the mission and make a commitment towards ending period poverty, here are 3 ways you can get involved:
May the mission to end period poverty be successful in our generation!