Period Equality is about Power not Pads- even in a Pandemic
As people who care about periods we’ve been telling everyone for years that the reason periods matter is because their neglect is a result of systemic, overlooked biases that put women, girls and other marginalised groups at a disadvantage.
Diversity of experience has been so lacking at the leadership table for so long that in our global society a simple biological reality for approximately half the population becomes a handicap. The pad becomes a symbol of this handicap, of the reality that as long as women are expected to fit into a system that was not made for them, they will struggle to realise their full potential and make their voices heard. Period Equality has never been just about getting pads to women. It’s about empowering women and other marginalised groups make their voices heard, realise their full potential and ultimately take control and build a better system for everybody.
Period Equality can achieve the most when it is integrated into broader, holistic work to transform the status quo for women, girls and other marginalised people. This has always been the case. It’s so easy as activists to be defined by “our issue” and to form community around shared outrage but we must instead form community around shared vision. The Period Equality vision is part of a broader Equality vision, one where women, girls and all people with periods have reshaped our global community into an inclusive place that values and caters for diversity of experience. The process of achieving equality is about enabling those without power to take it and to redefine it so that power becomes something we can all have. The adolescent girl advocating for her right to a pad is a powerful symbol of this transformative change.
In the current crisis, the inequalities that have driven us to care about periods are more pertinent than ever before. The biological reality of being female becomes a greater handicap as decisions are made by a system that remains broken and under intense pressure. Vulnerable women and girls only become more vulnerable and their voices harder to hear, making it easier than ever before to overlook their needs.
Those of us who understand period inequality can offer much more than pads in this global emergency. We must use our insight and experience to restore power and voice to the most vulnerable women, girls and all people with periods so that they are not forced to suffer unnecessarily though neglect and oversight during this unprecedented challenge. It is our role and responsibility not just to give pads but to restore power. Period.