Cutting through the stigma
Sarah Mikkelsen and Danika Revell want to empower thousands of New Zealand women to speak openly about their periods without the stigma that usually goes with it. They are co-founders of the Period Place, an advocacy charity whose vision is to make New Zealand the first “period equitable country” in the world.
Period equity refers to the affordability, accessibility and safety of menstrual products, education and reproductive health. Through their three core pillars – Conversation, Education and Access, they are encouraging open discussions, implementing initiatives and events, and distributing free menstrual products to those who need it the most.
As first-time mothers two and a half years ago, the good friends wanted to learn more about period poverty in New Zealand, and after doing some research together, they realised the problem was much bigger than they anticipated. They decided to reach out to those working with the most vulnerable around the country to see how they could help, and they discovered there was a high need for menstrual products. Since then, the Period Place has networked with like-minded businesses and social enterprises, more recently forming a cross-sector partnership with the Government. On June 3rd they met with the Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, and Minister for Women, Julie Anne Genter, to help implement a national period management programme for students. This is a milestone they are extremely proud of.
Danika says, “We are getting emails every week from people all around the country thanking us, and others asking how they can do their part to help. That’s what gets me out of bed in the morning, and what keeps me going through the tears and being overwhelemd. Now, finally, our organisation has national recognition, and is going to start to receive funding to impact more people exponentially. We’ve grown from two people shouting into the internet about periods, into a national charity that’s working with individuals to support their menstrual needs.”
As recent recipients of the Maungakiekie-Tāmaki Local Board Quick Response Grant, they will use the funds to further pursue their goal towards period equity. Follow their journey at www.theperiodplace.co.nz
(The Period Place co-founders, Sarah Mikkelsen and Danika Revell, meet Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Julie-Anne Genter in parliament)