Michela Bedard: Providing Access to Essential Feminine Health Products
Ladderworks is a publishing platform of diverse picture books and an online curriculum with the mission to empower over a million kids to become social entrepreneurs. Our current series features interviews by our interplanetary journalist Spiffy with inspiring Social Entrepreneurs, Entrepreneurship Ecosystem Builders, and Changemakers who are advancing the UN SDGs.
Hey there! Spiffy here with the scoop on the entrepreneurial leaders of Planet Earth. As the only interplanetary journalist stationed on this blue planet, I’m thrilled to present this galactic exclusive with Michela Bedard, the executive director of PERIOD. Let’s learn what’s happening at PERIOD. and how Michela is making a positive impact in the world.
Spiffy: Hi Michela, thanks a million for talking to me today. Tell me, what challenge are you addressing through PERIOD.?
Michela: Thanks for having me, Spiffy! PERIOD. works to end period poverty, which is the inability for someone to afford the menstrual products they need in order to manage their period each month.
Spiffy: Tell me more. What motivates you to do it?
Michela: Everyone deserves to have the products to keep themselves healthy. Just like soap or toilet paper, period products are required by over half the world's population in order to live full and healthy lives. Unfortunately, these products can be expensive and are usually not available for free in public bathrooms.
Spiffy: What is the impact of your work?
Michela: We work to help make period products affordable for all the women and girls who need them, and to make sure they are accessible in public places like schools, libraries, shelters, and community spaces. When these products can be easily found and used, women and girls won't need to stay home or miss out on school or work when they are menstruating.
Spiffy: Amazing! Tell me about a recent organization milestone or initiative. What impact does it make on your community?
Michela: Our organization was founded in 2014, and we now have over 400 volunteer PERIOD. chapters around the world! These chapters work to provide period products in their own communities. We are so proud of their work, and of our large menstrual movement.
Spiffy: Very cool. Is there anything else you would love to tell our audience?
Michela: Period poverty exists in all areas of the world. In the United States, nearly 1 in 4 students can't access or afford menstrual products. In other parts of the world, it can be over half of all women and girls. The good news is that we know we can fix this! We can make menstrual products a requirement in public places, and ensure they are either free or very inexpensive.
Spiffy: Thanks for speaking with me today, Michela—it’s been an honor!
Michela Bedard is the Executive Director of PERIOD., a global nonprofit headquartered in Portland, OR with over 400 volunteer PERIOD. chapters around the world. Committed to eradicating period poverty through service, education and advocacy, PERIOD. distributes period products to those in need, creates menstrual health curriculum, and promotes the passage of legislation to make period products more affordable and accessible. (First published on the Ladderworks website on May 19, 2023.)
The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the interviewee and do not necessarily reflect those of Ladderworks LLC.
© 2023 Ladderworks LLC. Edited by Lindsey Brannon. Spiffy’s illustration by Shreyas Navare. For the Ladderworks digital curriculum to help K-3 kids advance the UN SDGs, visit Spiffy's Launchpad: Creative Entrepreneurship Workshops for K-3 Kids and their caregivers here.