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NADYA OKAMOTO

What does this day mean to you?
International day of the girl is a celebration to me of all that has been accomplished to achieve gender equality -- but also a reminder of how much work we have to do. This is a call-to-action to know our potential and right to ensure gender equality, and a wake-up call that we all need to act to empower women and girls!
What do you want readers to take away from your book, Period Power? What is your message?
Period Power aims to explain what menstruation is, discuss the stigmas and resulting biases, and create a strategy to end the silence and prompt conversation about periods. It covers everything from what is happening biologically, to historical information about period products, and the political environment around menstruation.
Things are changing. Conversations surrounding the tampon tax, period poverty, and menstrual equity are no longer taboo. The next generation can and will change the silence and status quo around menstruation and gender equality. My book is a call to action for today’s youth to become tomorrow’s change makers. I wanted to write a book to show that this movement was REAL and has a larger vision for social and systemic change -- we have an agenda, and real info and thoughts behind why we’re doing this.
How can people join the fight/movement for gender justice and youth rights?
Start a conversation! The easiest way to fight for issues that matter to you is to talk about them.
Why is this movement so important to you?
I founded PERIOD when I was 16-years-old, as a junior in high school, after my family experienced living without a home of our own for several months. During this time, on my commute to school on the public bus, I had many conversations with homeless women in much worse living situations than I was in. I was inspired to learn more about menstrual inequity and period poverty after collecting an anthology of stories of their using toilet paper, socks, brown paper grocery bags, cardboard, and more, to take care of something so natural. Via google searches, I learned about the barrier that menstruation has for girls in school around the globe (they are the number one reason why girls miss school in developing countries), about the effects for disadvantaged menstruators here in the US, and the systemic barriers to proper menstrual health management.
It’s 2019, and yet, 35 US states still have a sales tax on period products because they are considered luxury items (unlike Rogaine and Viagra), period-related pain is a leading cause of absenteeism amongst girls in school, and periods are the number one reason why girls miss school in developing countries. Over half of our global population menstruates for an average of 40 years of their life on a monthly basis and has been doing so since the beginning of humankind. It’s about time we take action.
How can we start the conversation without being seen as disrespectful?
Just talk about the facts. Periods are a normal biological function and there is no reason to hide them. They aren’t dirty or shameful - they are natural!
How did you become involved in the movement for girls?
Period was my first introduction to activism, but i grew up with a single-mom and two younger sisters who inspire me every day, so perhaps the fight has always been within me.
You are a role model to many people, but who are yours?
My mom and my younger sisters!
What can men do to become an ally?
This is so important! Everyone should treat periods as normal and natural and help others do the same. You can start by listening to the menstruators in your life and being part of the conversation. This fight is on all of us! Join us for #nationalperiodday whether you get a period or not!
What message/word would you wear on your RP custom jewelry?
Period power!!!
Girl crush? Gloria steinem

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