While periods are a natural, normal part of daily life for uterus owners, for countless people they’re also a source of stress, shame, and stigma. An estimated 20% of girls have left school early or not showed up at all because they don’t have access to menstruation products. Around 137,700 girls in the UK miss school every year for the same reason, and 10% of girls in Africa quit school altogether because of menstruation-related issues. In the U.S., 27 states tax tampons and pads, making these products too expensive for those living in poverty to access.
The ongoing Covid-19 pandemic has only exacerbated this issue, or what is commonly referred to as period poverty — the inadequate access to menstrual hygiene tools and supplies. There was a reported 35% increase in requests for menstruation products since the start of the pandemic. And a survey conducted by WASH United, World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGS), and UNICEF found that nearly one in four people between 13 to 35 years of age say they’ve found it harder to manage their periods since the beginning of the pandemic. And 47% found it more difficult to access period products.
Modibodi, a company offering sustainable and reusable period and leak-proof apparel, underwear and swimwear, as well as a maternity collection featuring items for postpartum recovery and reusable diapers, is dedicated to fighting period poverty not just at home but abroad. The company and HeyMama partner’s commitment to encouraging open, frank, and real conversations about periods, incontinence, pregnancy, perspiration, menopause and more, is just one of many ways they’re helping to provide access to sustainable menstrual products for every body.
“I wanted to give back and help women and young menstruating people gain access to sustainable menstruation products,” Kristy Chong, founder of Modibodi, told HeyMama. “Our Give A Pair campaign encourages support from our customers to donate via our website, which then facilitates Modibodi underwear donations to vulnerable and disadvantaged women across the globe. In 2021, we’ve pledged to donate 100,000 pairs to help 20,000 people in need worldwide.”
No girl should ever feel limited by her period.
In addition to Modibodi’s Give A Pair campaign, Chong said RED, Modibodi’s collection of period underwear for teens and tweens, has always been a way to advocate for young women and people who have periods. “No girl should ever feel limited by her period, and should never stop doing what she loves, like playing a sport, swimming, dancing, or hanging out with friends,” Chong explained. “In fact, 68% of Modibodi RED customers say that their period undies give them the confidence to participate in activities they’d normally feel uncomfortable doing on their periods.”
Chong said that 45% of girls and gender diverse people who menstruate faced decreased privacy when managing their periods during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, and strict lockdowns made it that much harder to access the products they needed. “These types of issues are intertwined with poverty and cultural stigma,” she added,” which is why Modibodi advocates for more frank conversations around bodily leaks.” That’s why, as a customer-led business, Chong shared that on the onset of the pandemic they “listened to the consumers and changed out all our messaging to ensure it was sensitive and reflective of the time.”
Most recently, Modibodi released a new Maternity and Postpartum Collection in 2021, to best support new mothers throughout all stages of pregnancy. “With new additions such as the Postpartum Control Brief and the Breastfeeding Bra for Mommy, we wanted to make sure all consumers were taken care of,” Chong explained. Additionally, Modibodi recently partnered with Getty Images to debut EMBODIED: Postpartum Unfiltered, a campaign to re-depict the postpartum experience and provide a global, first-hand perspective into the authentic and diverse experiences of women in their fourth trimester.
Chong knows all too well that period poverty will continue to be an ongoing issue for many people across the globe, which is why she continues to encourage Modibodi customers to “top up their cart” with a small amount at the online checkout, or via the company’s Give APair page. “Every dollar donated through our ‘Give A Pair’ program goes towards putting a bundle pack of five pairs of reusable, leak-proof products into the hands of people in need worldwide,” she said.