Boosting menstrual equity within the FIRST community
Location: Bay Area, California, USA
Young women face many significant issues related to menstruation, including societal stigma, unaffordable period products and lack of accessibility. More than 80% of US students have either missed class or know someone who has because they lacked access to period products, and even missing just a few days of school can lead to significant performance gaps that are exacerbated by poverty and racism.
Our team, “Space Cookies” from the Bay Area in California, is expanding our award-winning 2021 FIRST® Innovation Challenge project focused on menstrual equity, which refers to the affordability, accessibility and safety of menstrual products and ensures people have the means, support, and choices to take care of their menstrual health. We are working to ensure products are free and easily accessible at FIRST® Robotics Competition events around the world: We have launched m.e. FIRST, a program to engage 75+ teams to serve as ambassadors at their competitions to ensure that free menstrual products are available. m.e. FIRST Ambassadors receive our comprehensive toolkit, which includes information about the importance of menstrual equity; calculation guides to approximate the number of menstrual products needed for each event; and templates to announce product availability before and during competitions. Our goal is simple: to remove barriers related to menstruation to enable safe, healthy, enjoyable, and fully inclusive experiences.