From February 28th to March 3rd, Sewanee hosted a series of speakers and events to educate the campus community around period poverty and menstrual equity in the U.S., and globally. Over the course of the week, speakers from as far away as Delhi, India and São Paulo, Brazil (via Zoom) joined U.S. based scholars, entrepreneurs, and Sewanee student activists to call attention to challenges around access, equity and sustainable period product design. In my class, The Politics of Poverty and Inequality, we hosted Joanne Goldblum, CEO of the Alliance for Period Supplies, and the National Diaper Bank. Ms. Goldblum discussed her life’s work addressing how the lack of basic needs such as diapers and menstrual hygiene products, impedes the ability of women and girls to attend school regularly, and maintain regular employment. In her work with members of Congress, Ms. Goldblum gave accounts of how misguided stereotypes about low income Americans, and tropes around deservingness affect the policy process and especially funding for critical programs that reduce hardship on children and families. Students learned about internship opportunities with advocacy organizations focused on meeting basic needs, and other ways to contribute to policy solutions.
Paige Schneider, Department of Politics