Women’s Fund Initiative: Change the Cycle

Solving Period Poverty One Step at a Time

As part of the Women’s Fund’s philanthropic and educational initiatives, they have launched Change the Cycle, a concerted effort to solve Period Poverty, or the lack of access to affordable feminine hygiene products for women and teens. While Period Poverty is a national concern, its effects are seen right here in Lorain County. “Families struggling with food insecurity rarely have the funds to keep the family fed and even less to purchase hygiene supplies for women, especially for young, developing teens,” states Susan Bartosch, Director of External Affairs for Second Harvest Food Bank of North Central Ohio. “The pre-teen years are very crucial in all aspects of health including physical, mental, and social development.”  

1 in 5

American girls miss school due to their period

nearly 50%

of low-income women have to choose between food and hygiene supplies

The group will first tackle the need for accessible, affordable supplies for the women of Lorain County. “The outcry received when we first shared our concern over Period Poverty at our annual SHEro event was louder than we ever expected,” states Elizabeth Bosela-Bullock, Change the Cycle chairperson and Vice President for the Women’s Fund. “We felt compelled to do more and Change the Cycle was born.”  The Women’s Fund received a grant from the UPS Foundation and will be partnering with local agencies and school districts to get feminine hygiene products into the hands of the women and girls who need it most. Secondly, the committee hopes to tackle the affordability of products for women and teens throughout the state including the ability to purchase products with SNAP benefits.

“Black and Latina women had the highest levels of period poverty in the last year and also immigrant and first-generation students also reported higher levels of period poverty.”

Dr. JHUMKA GUPTA, associate professor at George Mason University and senior author for BMC Women’s Health Study