For Women, by Women, Period members fundraise for menstrual products. Photo provided.

Period poverty – the lack of access to period products, period education and hygiene facilities – has always been a rampant but under-discussed topic. Across the country, menstruators are taking the power back into their own hands to empower the next generation of young menstruators. 

In New York, 21-year-old Carrington Baker launched a national organization to tackle period poverty: For Women, By Women, Period (FWBW) after learning about how period poverty impacts homeless menstruators. 

“I was ignorant to the existence of period poverty,” Baker says, CEO of FWBW. “Growing up, my family and I would donate food, clothing and blankets but one thing that never occurred to me was menstrual products and I feel like that may be common for many people.”

Baker began doing research about period poverty and what access looked like in New York where she attends St. John’s University. After graduation, Baker is planning to attend medical school and become an OBGYN.

Baker brought her idea to friends at St. John’s and launched the first chapter of FWBW. The main goals of the organization are to fight period poverty and empower menstruators. They have a youth program that works with young menstruators in New York Public Schools and donate period products to Asiyah Women Center, St John’s University Radicals, Ali Forney Center, Bethany House and Skee Phi NY.

While FWBW is currently condensed to New York, Baker and outreach coordinator Alexa Imeri say the goal is to go nationwide and connect with colleges and universities across the country, who in turn, will uplift menstruators in their own cities.

“Along this journey, myself and my team have realized that for the longest we have never been able to openly speak about periods, sex, our bodies in general, or how we take care of ourselves, and that is due to the view that society has on those topics, but FWBW is here to change that,” Baker said.

FWBW receives donations through fundraising and then creates Moon boxes, the Deluxe and the Mini. The deluxe includes pads, tampons, underwear, wipes and disposable heating patches. The mini is better for on-the-go and includes pads and tampons in a small pouch. FWBW then donates the Moon boxes to homeless shelters or women’s centers in New York.

While the name of the organization is gendered, both Imeri and Baker said FWBW is inclusive of all menstruators.

“We want everyone to feel comfortable because not just women menstruate,” Imeri said.

Baker said that as she did more research on period poverty, she learned about being inclusive of all genders who may menstruate.

“As a growing collective, we are continuously making strides to further educate ourselves because as female pioneers, we want to be representative of all who menstruate,” she said.

Donations can be made to FWBW by following this link: https://forwomenbywomenperiod.org/donate

Sam Stroozas

Sam Stroozas is a writer and the calendar editor for Rebellious Magazine. Follow her on Twitter @samstroozas.