Kimberly-Clark’s commitment to menstrual hygiene began nearly 100 years ago with the introduction of the world’s first disposable menstrual pads under the Kotex brand. Today, the company is extending its mission with innovative programs that address period poverty, defined as the lack of access to menstrual hygiene products, knowledge and basic sanitation that enable women to manage their periods with dignity.
“Kotex has been championing women’s progress for nearly 100 years by challenging the stigma in the society to make sure neither a period nor the negative perceptions of it stand in the way of any woman’s progress,” said Deniz Gurler, senior brand manager for U by Kotex. “We are taking that promise one step further by supporting women and girls whose futures can be changed by access to period supplies and education.”
Research conducted last year by Kimberly-Clark’s U by Kotex brand found one in four women in the United Statesstruggles to purchase period products due to lack of income. To bridge this gap, U by Kotex in 2018 helped found the Alliance for Period Supplies.
The program celebrated its first anniversary on May 1 and works with more than 60 allied programs nationwide to distribute free period supplies to local partners, schools, shelters and other facilities serving low-income individuals and families. To date, more than 17 million period products have been distributed through the network.
Select retail partners are also teaming up with U by Kotex throughout the year, linking purchases of U by Kotex products to an additional donation to reach even more individuals in need. Purchases will spark a donation of two period products to the Alliance for Period Supplies.
Around the world, Kimberly-Clark partners with organizations to improve basic sanitation in communities at risk, including Plan International USA, Water Aid and Water For People. Clean, secure public toilet facilities help women and girls manage their periods with dignity.
In Bolivia, where approximately one in two girls do not have a hygienic way to manage their period because of poor bathroom conditions, the company’s partnership with Plan International USA funded the construction of 27 new bathrooms in four schools over the past year while providing educational information to local communities about menstruation and menstrual hygiene.
Kimberly-Clark joined Plan International USA and Plan UK this week to discuss global menstrual hygiene challenges and the impact on girls through a #MenstrualHygieneChat hosted on Twitter.
On Menstrual Hygiene Day, Kimberly-Clark employees will have the opportunity to join period supply drives benefitting the Alliance for Period Supplies network.
“We have 40,000 employees worldwide who can become ambassadors for period progress,” said Gurler. “The conversations and actions we take today will help improve health, wellbeing and opportunities for women and girls tomorrow. We are united in our mission to end period poverty.”
Menstrual Hygiene Day is a global awareness program introduced by Wash United in 2014 to bring global attention to the lack of menstrual hygiene management access, education and sanitation affecting millions of women and girls.