AwareNow: Issue 18: The Outside Edition

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Page 30

Allié: Beyond creating a product, you created a platform, Nadya. You drew back the curtain and brought menstruation to centerstage, giving women the spotlight to be seen and the mic to be heard about a topic that should be ‘sacred’ not taboo. There are a number of subjects you could have dedicated yourself to. Why this? Why now?

Nadya: I learned about period poverty in 2014 from hearing stories directly from homeless women about their experience of not being able to afford period products. I had never heard of period poverty before, but learning about that and the fact that the tampon tax existed in 40 states at the time ignited a fire in me — I knew I had to take action. I was so passionate about period equity that I was just constantly thinking about it, even when I was trying to fall asleep! So that year, I started what is now known as, a nonprofit. I led it as executive director until January 2020 before I began my journey as a social entrepreneur and focusing on August.

Allié: You saw a problem and created a solution. You named it ‘August’. Please share the story behind August, its name and its mission.

Nadya: The word “August” means dignified, and our company August is a lifestyle brand working to reimagine periods to be dignified! The period product industry sold us one narrative that has kept us silent and ashamed of our bodies, and our mission is to put an end to that!

Allié: I, personally, can’t thank you enough for your voice and your vision. For those unfamiliar with ‘The Menstrual Movement’ please define it in words of your own and share how both women and men can support it.

Nadya: The menstrual movement is the fight for equitable access to period products and the effort to break down the stigma and taboo around periods. When working to destigmatize menstruation, we must center inclusivity and ensure that no one is left out, discriminated against, or marginalized. Start with simple conversations with your friends, families, and normalize talking about periods as something that is natural and powerful! Then you can advance into hosting period product drives, changing local/state policy, and grassroots organizing! ∎

Learn more about Nadya Okamoto:

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