AwareNow: Issue 18: The Outside Edition

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Page 27

EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH NADYA OKAMOTO

IT’S TIME TO TALK - PERIOD

MENSTRUATION: A STIGMA SILENCED BY SHAME NO MORE Nadya Okamoto is also the Founder of PERIOD (period.org), an organization fighting to end period poverty and stigma that she founded at the age of 16. Under her leadership as Executive Director for five years, PERIOD addressed over 1.5 million periods and registered over 800 campus chapters in all 50 states and 50 other countries. In 2017, Nadya ran for public office in Cambridge, MA at age 19 — at the time, becoming the youngest Asian American to run. In 2018, Nadya published her debut book, Period Power: A Manifesto for the Menstrual Movement with publisher Simon & Schuster, which made the Kirkus Reviews list for Best Young Adult Nonfiction of 2018. Recognized on the lists of Forbes 30 Under 30, Bloomberg 50 “Ones to Watch” and People Magazine's Women Changing the World, Nadya is cultivating conversation to create needed change.

Allié: I remember when I got my period at the age of 13. I was embarrassed, uncomfortable and instantly unsure of myself. Luckily, I had a mother to guide me and provide needed supplies. However, there are those without mothers to guide them and/or without supplies that are needed. For those unfamiliar with ‘period poverty’, please share.

Nadya: Period poverty is the inability to afford access to period products to maintain menstrual hygiene. Lack of access, research, and education are all components that play a role in period poverty. Period stigma is also a huge factor — because our society doesn't currently consider period products a necessity. The tampon tax and the inaccessibility of period products is further proof that our society views them as, moreso, luxuries. This is a human issue and it affects us all.

NADYA OKAMOTO @ 2019 MAKERS CONFERENCE

NADYA OKAMOTO, FOUNDER & EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF PERIOD.ORG, AND VINCENT FORAND, CO-FOUNDER & OPERATIONS DIRECTOR, PERIOD., INC., TALK ABOUT TAKING THE TABOO OUT OF TAMPONS FROM THE 2019 #MAKERSCONFERENCE AT MONARCH BEACH RESORT.

27 AWARENOW / THE OUTSIDE EDITION

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