PERIOD Con 2019

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PERIOD Con 2019

Courtesy of Victoria Geh '19

Courtesy of Victoria Geh '19

Courtesy of Victoria Geh '19

Victoria Geh, Editor-in-Chief

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Over the third weekend of January, Mrs. Parsons and a group of five Kent students traveled to New York City to attend the second annual PERIOD Con.

All six members, including students Baljaa Borgil ’20, Jeffrey Liu ’19, Aay-Janae Taylor ’21, Sevie Browne ’19, and myself joined together with other PERIOD chapter leaders, youth activists, and period warriors. Everyone traveled to participate in the two day conference featuring speaker panels and workshops for individuals passionate about the menstrual movement. We attended panels featuring influencers, activists, brand representatives, researchers, and legislators.

PERIOD is the largest global youth-run nonprofit organization that focuses on advocacy, education, and service in menstrual health. Founded in 2014 by Nadya Okamoto and Vincent Forand, it has grown to encompass over 230 campus chapters, including one at Kent School. Borgil, the president of [email protected], comments that “PERIOD Con was really fun and really fresh. As a non-menstruator, it was so inspiring and so awakening to realize what others have to go through. I was able to learn a lot.”

The first day kicked off with a speech by Lynn Seely, MD, the CEO of Myovant Science, followed by panels on period poverty, period policy, gender inclusivity, and periods in pop culture. Each panel featured inspirational stories and personal anecdotes, as well as new perspectives from global leaders and icons. One of the panelists, Dr. Melisa Holmes, a pediatric and adolescent gynecologist and the founder of Girlology, provided tips from a medical perspective.

During the Period Care Innovation panel, Ridhi Tariyal, the founder of NextGen Jane, shared her startup experience. Her company looks at genomic signatures in menstrual fluid to determine an individual’s health. By combining her interest in STEM with her passion for empowering those who have a menstrual cycle, she developed a tool that benefits all women.

In the Gender Inclusivity panel, Grey, a gender fluid and bisexual art vigilante pumped up the crowd with her strong personality and voice. As activists shared their stories, they brought a lot of laughter and motivation to all of the attendees.

Reflecting on his experience, Liu says that “PERIOD Con was eye opening. Periods were never really on my mind before but this educated me on the difficulties that menstruators face.”

Claire Coder, another speaker, is the founder and CEO of Aunt Flow, a company that is on a mission to ensure that everyone has equal access to menstrual products, whether it be at a company or a center of education. Starting this company at age 16, her passion for menstrual equality drove her success. During PERIOD Con, she also held a workshop that encouraged and outlined the process of advocating for period products at university and high schools.

Chapter leaders learned about persuading an administration with a strong voice, managing costs, and resilience in the face a business world populated with leaders that are male. I believe that with persistent communication and conversation with the school’s administration, we will be able to have free products in all of our gender-neutral bathrooms on campus.

After participating in a packing party and workshops over period policy, education, and the usage of diva cups, chapter awards ensued. Borgil was recognized as a Period Warrior, for receiving 900 menstrual product donations in one drive and for starting a chapter as a non-menstruator. This has been an amazing opportunity for all, and I hope that we will be able to get more students involved next year!

Wendy Davis, former Texas State Senator

Claire Coder, Aunt Flow CEO

Baljaa Borgil ’20 Receives an Award!

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