One of the most common processes of a woman’s body – menstrual bleeding – can affect every single woman in so many different ways, which may result in many different forms of dealing with it. From painful (and sometimes paralyzing) cramps during the first couple of days in the cycle to bouncing between moods at the drop of a hat to binge-watching TV shows on Netflix and crying into a(n empty) bucket of Ben & Jerry’s (chocolate-flavored, of course!) to being in constant discomfort because the nature of your flow fluctuates from moment to moment, these offer just a small glimpse into the lives of women who go through nearly a week of free-bleeding.
Despite it attracting the phrases “Code Red”, “surfing the crimson wave”, or even “Code Red”, no matter how uncomfortable or painful it may get, make sure you take the time to appreciate that your body is capable of going through this process month after month! Recognize its potential of being a lot stronger than you might anticipate! After all, our most sensitive organ goes through a stage of disintegration every few weeks, and yet, here we all are! Going about with our lives, being the amazing women that we are all born to be! So, if your hormones wanna have a (~) 5-day party, let them! Just maybe keep a heat bag in handy for when they decide to get a bit too lit, y’know what I’m saying?
So, why am I talking about periods?
Well, here are two names: Eloise Hall and Isobel Marshall.
Remember these names, because these two extraordinary women from Adelaide have co-created a social enterprise – TABOO – that specializes in creating 100% organic cotton sanitary products Australia-wide and are out to not only discuss but go one step further in breaking down the stigma around one of the most (unjustifiably) taboo topics – menstruation.
After winning the Unley young entrepreneurship program Fish Tank in 2016 as teenagers, Hall and Marshall started the mission of creating and providing TABOO’s quality pads and tampons in a bid to offer women (particularly in developing countries) with basic and affordable access to sustainable sanitary care and education. Hall and Marshall also aim to invest 100% of their net profits towards fighting period poverty around the world.
“We were shocked to learn that 30% of girls in developing countries will drop out of school as soon as they get their first period and that many reproductive complications stem from the lack of appropriate menstrual health care and education. We became passionate about the cause, and felt an overwhelming responsibility to use our fortunate circumstances to support these women.”
Eloise Hall (co-founder)
Did you know that “the average Australian woman disposes of 10,000 to 12,000 used sanitary products in their lifetime“? The current range of synthetic sanitary products can take anywhere between 500 – 800 years to break down into biodegradable matter and looking at the current state of our beautiful planet, we don’t need to add to its worries around survival!
After successfully crowd-funding their campaign in 2018 and raising $56,000 for their first batch of TABOO products, Hall and Marshall were inspired to create sanitary products that would be environment-friendly, so they designed their products with sustainability as a primary focus, through their sanitary products being made out of organic cotton that are ethically sourced and produced in factories that runs off of hydroelectricity from the stream on their property, and having them delivered in recycled cardboard packaging.
Traveling to India and Kenya to see the effects of period poverty for themselves, Hall and Marshall now spread their message through school visits, educating students about the importance of their cause to over 35 schools nationally.
“TABOO is a movement that motivates people to empower each other through the experience of menstruation. We are striving to provide basic menstrual and sanitary education to both women and men in developing countries so that women and girls are no longer made to feel degraded and de-humanised during this time.”
A portion of the sales of TABOO’s sanitary products will be invested towards raising money for OneGirl, which is based in Melbourne and works towards supporting females in Africa with affordable and easy access to sanitary products to aid with their menstrual cycles in an economic and sustainable manner. The net profits also assist with equipping young women in Sierra Leone and Uganda with business skills, in addition to supporting women living in rough conditions around Adelaide city and/or in Community Australia.
While it may be a small part of our lives, menstruation (including menstrual education + awareness, menstrual hygiene, and sanitary products) in developing countries will encourage a new wave of women, who will feel empowered, supported, and enjoy the basic human right of access to sanitary products!
TABOO is now open for business. You can choose how many pads and/or tampons you’d like to receive over a period (get it?) of months here.
Don’t want to buy pads or tampons but would still like to support the mission of TABOO? You can still contribute towards supporting women in need of sanitary products by donating to them here. Take it one step further by applying to volunteer and be a part of this amazing cause here.
With thanks to Girl About Town for the invite to the launch event + promotional imagery (including the featured image) and to the teams at TABOO and MOD. for their hospitality.