As just a junior at Harvard, Nadya Okamoto is leading the fight to normalize periods and menstruation.
When she was 16 years old, Okamoto founded her nonprofit PERIOD. The organization started out as a small group that would pass out tampons and sanitary pads around downtown Portland and now has evolved into a presence on over 600 college campuses.
But Okamoto’s movement goes beyond handing out period products — although, that itself is incredibly helpful and a blessing to those who don’t have easy access to them — but also focuses on mobilizing change in government.
The group took down the tampon tax in Ohio, a bill that allowed taxation on various period products.
“People can spend upwards of $15 to $20 a month on period products and related costs,” Okamoto told In The Know. “That can amount to over $240 a year.”
Another one of Okamoto’s goals is to alleviate the awkwardness and secrecy that comes with discussing periods.
“There’s a stigma around a little piece of cotton,” Okamoto said. “A tampon or pad becoming a source of shame.”
Okamoto is continuing her fight to make society comfortable with periods, and that includes tackling on more legislation to shed light on how period products and hygiene are a right, not a privilege.
More to read: