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MSU student groups work to end menstruation stigma on Period Action Day

October 15, 2023
Lysne Tait and Nupur Huria holding a Period Action Day sign.
Lysne Tait and Nupur Huria holding a Period Action Day sign. —
Photo by Abbigayle Gabli | The State News

Period Action Day, or PAD, originally National Period Day, was created in 2019 by PERIOD., a global youth-fueled nonprofit organization.

Organizations like PERIOD., Helping Women Period, Mission Menstruation X MSU and Pad the Mitten came together to host an event for the action day at the MSU Union on Oct. 14. 

PAD is working to get rid of the tax on menstrual products like pads or tampons, working to create menstrual equity for all by getting rid of these financial barriers. 

“The tampon tax refers to the sales tax rate that a state, county, and/or city government collects on the retail purchase of menstrual products,” according to the PERIOD. website. 

The event consisted of legislative letter writing, snacks and round table discussions. A featured speaker at the event was State Rep. Julie Brixie (D-Meridian Twp.). 

“Raising awareness of a problem is the first step in getting any problem addressed and changed,” Brixie said. 

Brixie talked about how incredibly successful college students are in moving the needle of legislative ideas such as equity. 

Executive director and co-founder of Helping Women Period, Lysne Tait said, said talking about these issues will help those dealing with stigma against period poverty. 

Tait said that no one wants to talk about periods and nobody wants to talk about poverty. She finds that the more we talk about these issues, the more mainstream it can be. 

“Having this event and raising awareness about this problem is such a big deal," lead advocate of Mission Menstruation X MSU and biology and psychology senior Nupur Huria said. "Even if people don’t come, everybody that hears about this will create more awareness and there’s more stigma that’s dismantled.”

Many individuals had similar ideas when it came to what people can do to help with PAD. Some options were mailing letters to representatives, donating period products to local foundations and freely conversing about periods.

Huria talked about how the tampon tax creates a dilemma between choosing to get groceries or getting period products for the week.

“One of the insulting things about the period product tax is, as a woman, it's incredibly insulting when you look at the things considered essential and not taxed, and then period products are not out there," Brixie said.

Tait commented on how the tax on period products seems small, but adds up over time. 

Comparative cultures and politics and social relations and policy senior Mackenzie Lovell said talking about periods openly and not trying to hide period products when going to the bathroom will work to destigmatize it for everyone. 

“Remember that it’s not just a women's issue," Lovell said. "It's a queer issue as well, and we need to make sure we’re involving them in our discussion about it.”

The event also hosted high school students looking to talk about menstrual equity.

“Government officials (are) unaware of these things happening," Novi High School junior Divya Desai said. "Bringing awareness will help let people know that these are still issues that we’re still having.”

Novi High School sophomore Sthuthi Jagalur said connecting different age groups over one issue is very important when it comes to period equity.

Jagalur said young individuals are naive when it comes to certain subjects, but they are the ones impacted by this issue.

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"The youth are going to save our world," Tait said. 

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