Nadya Okamoto is the 21-year-old behind PERIOD. The Menstrual Movement. The world's largest youth-run women's health NGO is using service, education, and advocacy to fight menstrual poverty and stigmas.
“I describe the mental movement as the fight for equitable access to menstrual hygiene and breaking down the stigma around periods,” she explained. “And I would describe PERIOD. as an organization focusing on ending period poverty and the period stigma through service, education and advocacy.”
An estimated 500 million women and girls worldwide lack adequate facilities to manage their period. Living in an area with a large homeless population made that statistic even more surreal for Okamoto. After learning about the struggles of women who don't have equal access to period essentials, she felt called to address the global issue.
Surviving poverty, abuse, and becoming aware of the inequality in her own community led Okamoto to a life of service and advocacy for women's health rights. Having to commute every day to school led her to frequent an area of Portland that had a concentrated number of homeless women. She began speaking to and becoming familiar with them and learned about their struggles surrounding period hygiene.
She founded PERIOD. to fight for equitable access to menstrual hygiene, end the tampon tax, and abolish period stigmas. Currently, her nonprofit is the largest NGO with hundreds of chapters operating globally.