Go with the flow: Women’s center hosts feminine product drive

Brenna Parker

The Kent State University Women’s Center is hosting “Go with the flow PERIOD!” a feminine product drive that will be collecting goods until Dec. 11.

Women’s Center and LGBTQ Student Center Graduate Assistant Jenna Brinker organized the drive after seeing the center run low on feminine products because of an increased need in the community.

There are women in our own community that are experiencing a barrier to these products,” Brinker said. “Menstruation is a natural and beautiful part of being a woman, but it is not a choice.”

Brinker was going to travel to Nepal this past summer to work on women’s health and reproductive health issues, but after the earthquake, decided not to go. She decided to work domestically on the same issues.

“I quickly learned that homeless women face a lot of the same issues with menstrual hygiene, they lack access to products (cost) as well as clean and safe sanitation facilities,” Brinker said. “Low-income women also struggle because of the high cost of feminine products and the tax that Ohio still has on these products.”

Tampons and pads are not considered essential products by the state of Ohio or national government. These products are subject to taxation and can be unaffordable to low-income women, as a year supply of tampons and pads can cost upwards of $70.

“Only five states have removed taxes on feminine products,” Brinker said. “Reproductive health is a health care issue, but the health products women need aren’t easily made accessible.”

Brinker said certain stigmas associated with women’s menstruation have made media outlets not discuss the issue. She hopes the drive will raise awareness on campus.

Women’s Center Assistant Director Cassandra Pegg-Kirby said it may seem like an unusual drive, but it is an important issue and hopes to make change about the stigma and obstacles created around a normal body process. Pegg-Kirby said the issue is global.

In Nepal, 30 percent of girls miss school each month as a result of their period and one in 10 girls in Africa miss school for the duration of her period each month. Brinker hopes the drive will raise awareness on campus.

The Women’s Center is located at Alumni Carriage House, 125 Midway Dr.