Periods. We get them. We deal with them. We rejoice when each cycle finishes.
But when I discovered Cora (obviously on social media) I came to a shocking realization…
We’re all doing it wrong.
If you’re reading this, chances are you live somewhere that Aunt Flo isn’t much more than a nuisance. You’re about to hear how lucky you are, but more importantly how you can help the millions of women and girls who don’t have access to the provisions we take so for granted. (And what you can do actually simplifies your life…)
Secondly, as a generation who has a unified view on cigarettes, diet soda, hormone injected meat, pesticide grown vegetables, and the list goes on – why haven’t we questioned what we put in our bodies each month during our periods?
Probably the same reason that my male readership (albeit quite small) has already closed this window, and the ladies have glanced over their shoulders to make sure no one sees you reading about your period at work: periods are still a fairly taboo topic. Even though half of the population spends an accumulative seven years menstruating, it can be embarrassing to broach this subject with a friend, daughter, definitely son, and sometimes even your doctor. And that’s sort of the third point…
Cora co-founder, Molly Haward, knows it’s time we started doing periods right.
When Molly and I connected for a phone interview, it was days away from Cora’s launch. I had to hold the line while she navigated her way out from between skids of product – the standard experience of wearing many hats as the co-founder of a start-up! From the get-go it was clear how enthusiastic Molly was, and as our convo progressed it was clear why her passion only grew the more she delved into this undertaking.
After studying political science, international development and economics, Molly traveled extensively through the developing world. She saw firsthand how much money is being poured into young women’s education, but the major flaw in the system that many students are dropping out because of this essential part of life. “I was traveling with an organization in Kenya when a girl named Purity told me she and other girls would stay home from school during their periods because they couldn’t afford sanitary pads. Every year, 100 million girls miss school during their periods due to a lack of access to adequate menstrual products.”
This sparked the idea for a company with a similar M.O. as Toms shoes; Molly set out to start a company that gave a feminine hygiene product to a girl in need for every unit that was sold.
Meanwhile, back in the US entrepreneurial husband Morgen Newman couldn’t figure out why someone as “on it” as his driven wife, Kayti, kept forgetting something as essential as buying tampons. This often meant emergency trips to CVS took place, and one day she finally laid all the woes of being a woman on him. She filled him in on everything from the classic hide-the-tampon-up-sleeve-to-conceal-en-route-to-the-bathroom, to the million ways your period can surprise, frustrate, and embarrass you. He knew that we women could do better.
Molly and Morgen were connected through a mutual friend, and as their quest to bring forward a non-embarrassing, convenient brand of tampons that gave back to women around the world progressed, they were appalled to discover the truth about our current tampon industry and its lack of regulations.
The “other brands” are made from viscose rayon, highly absorbent synthetic which is created through a chemical process to get the flashy white we all associate with cleanliness, and conventional non-organic cotton which is one of the most pesticide-ridden crops, and is becoming more and more genetically modified. I have to say though, my favourite product in all of these is the “undisclosed ingredients.” How is that possible?
The more Molly discovered, the more she was driven to force a change. “When I learned that many feminine products used in the US contain substances that are potentially harmful to our health, I knew there had to be a better future for us all.” Cora tampons are so much more than organic, take a look at their site for all the details.
I invite you to make a change without really having to do anything. Think about your body. Think about girls getting to attend school and practice proper feminine hygiene. Think about packaging and the planet. Or, think about your next trip to the washroom past Dave in accounting as you hide a tampon from his gaze.
I feel I have to include this kick-ass quote from Molly’s counterpart, Morgen. It’s a true testament to feminism not having to do with bra-burning or a movement just from women. Feminism is important to everyone.
“Maybe you wouldn’t expect to see a guy working on period management startup. But when you consider that 82% of girls and women in the world can’t access or afford menstrual products, and this directly impacts their ability to get or hold an education or job, it becomes clear that we’re working on an issue that has serious implications for every person in the world, woman or man.” – Morgen Newman