We’re excited to announce that we’re stocking the Penny Pack with organic menstrual products from Aunt Flow, the company that produces 100% natural cotton pads and tampons. Aunt Flow also promotes period positivity, encouraging girls to embrace menstruation as a natural and healthy part of life. Their goal? To change the mindset about public access to menstrual products. Here’s how they’re doing it, why we couldn’t agree more, and where you can get involved.
Promoting Period Equity
Today in the US, 5,307 girls will start their periods, and almost none of them will be prepared.
Sadly, these girls may also feel ashamed. They might cry in the bathroom, tie a sweatshirt around their waist, and hope they don’t bleed through. They’ll get in trouble for being late or skipping class and will be too embarrassed to explain why.
Schools offer toilet paper for free, which all students require. But half of the student body requires menstrual products, so why don’t schools provide those for free too?
Aunt Flow is on a mission to change this, working with schools and businesses to stock high-quality menstrual products in bathrooms at no cost to students or employees. A self-described for-profit company with non-profit values, Aunt Flow is passionate about ending period stigma, and that starts with a common sense approach.
Necessity is the Mother of Period Innovation
Since the timing of a woman’s period isn’t something she can control, why not provide menstrual products in bathrooms in case she’s not at home when it happens? That’s exactly how the idea for Aunt Flow was born.
Founder Claire Coder was at an event when the arrival of her period caught her off guard. Much to her frustration, she was unable to locate any menstrual products in the public bathroom. Right then, Claire recognized this problem as a universal one that women face all too often.
So, what started as a subscription box service quickly shifted gears when Claire perceived this unmet need in schools and businesses. No other company was selling menstrual products to these organizations in bulk with the intent of making them free to students and employees. Drawing on her own experience, this was the only approach that made sense to Claire.
Because menstrual product companies aren’t required to disclose their ingredients, their pads and tampons can be bleached with chlorine and full of chemicals. In addition to potentially harming the body, these additives make the products less absorbent than organic ones, so Claire felt it was important to offer an organic alternative to the market.
Aunt Flow’s pads and tampons are made of 100% organic cotton and are free of chemicals, dyes, and synthetics. Claire says, “Everything is biodegradable, including the tampon applicators, which are made of cardboard. Not only are they super safe for your daughter to use, these products hold more fluid than ones with chemical processing, lasting longer than major non-organic brands.”
We Can Do Better For Our Girls
We believe in Aunt Flow’s product. And getting free menstrual products into our daughters’ middle schools and high schools is just another way we can prepare them for this major life change.
I’ve heard countless harrowing tales from women about getting their first period in school. Imagine it happened to you right before 7th-grade gym class, and then you bled through your pants for all to see as you climbed a rope. True story. While many of us chuckle about these memories now, these were formative moments because they’re still so vividly recalled.
Here’s another sad reality. A school nurse I know says her school routinely runs out of menstrual products for stocking the coin-op dispensers. And, by the way, do your kids ever carry pocket change? Mine don’t! Our schools and businesses are running behind the times.
How You Can Get Involved
Looking on the bright side, change is coming. States like California, New York, and Illinois have passed legislation requiring schools to offer menstrual products for free. But the wheels of progress turn slowly. With no practical way for states to enforce these laws, many schools are simply not complying. Aunt Flow runs email campaigns in these states to educate schools, help bring them into compliance, and supply them with menstrual products.
But, we can’t wait for every state to pass a law requiring this change, especially when the laws on the books aren’t ensuring change. We believe in taking action now because it’s the right thing to do.
An adolescent girl’s life is fraught with many pressures. Having easy access to period products at school shouldn’t be one of them. We’re excited that Aunt Flow exists to address this problem and we hope you’re excited too.
Change starts in small towns and communities with parents just like you. If you’d like to help, we have just the thing to get you started. Download this template to send an email or letter to your school board, PTA, or principal’s office. Together, we can do better for our daughters.