Smiley Movement logo

'Pledge Your Period' tackles period poverty

Words by Smiley Team

#PledgeYourPeriod was an innovative, month-long campaign in May created to de-stigmatise periods, help to end period poverty, and fight for menstrual equity.

It was run by The Desai Foundation, a non-profit focused on empowering women and children in the US and India with knowledge on periods.

For every 10 posts made on social media with the hashtag, The Desai Foundation’s sponsor, Ranavat, donated $100 (around £80) to the foundation to provide period products.

[Sign up here to receive a weekly dose of positive news in your inbox]

#PledgeYourPeriod culminated with a panel discussion on featuring actress and period activist Ashley Greene, best known from the Twilight films. “We should have been taught these things back in school," Ashley said, on the topic of period education. "There are foundational things we should understand about our bodies.

“There is a lot we can do here around menstrual literacy and in the US the lack of menstrual education is frustrating, but in places like India it can be dangerous.”

Other faces on the panel included fashion designer Rachel Roy, activist Jennifer Weiss-Wolf, and Congresswoman Grace Meng. “Period poverty is unthinkable and simply wrong; it impacts one’s mental health, educational opportunities and overall wellbeing," said Congresswoman Meng.

How does The Desai Foundation help?

Globally, an estimated 500 million people who menstruate are lacking access to menstrual products and hygiene facilities.

Around 16.9 million of those experiencing period poverty are in the United States, and in India, 1 out of 5 girls drop out of school after they start menstruating. In the UK, 1 in 10 girls can't afford to buy menstrual products, while 1 in 7 have struggled to afford them in the past, demonstrating the international scale of the problem.

The Desai Foundation, which has been going since 1997, works with partners globally to end both period poverty and stigma.

The Pledge Your Period campaign encourages people to speak out about their experiences and create more transparency. It also raised money for the Asani Sanitary Napkin programme, also run by The Desai Foundation, which provides menstrual health education and products to women and girls in rural India who might not otherwise have them.

So far, the programme has provided more than 3 million free period products to those in need and provided 2,500 jobs in India.

Inspired to act?

DISCOVER: Read this Smiley News interview with a YouTuber who has become a period educator online.

DONATE: You can donate to The Desai Foundation through their website where you can also find out more about what they do.

If you want to support a UK charity hoping to reduce period poverty around the world, donate to Period Poverty UK.

This article aligns with the following UN SDGs

You might also like…