DivaCares has always been core to what we do here at Diva. Since our start we have offered our products, at no cost, to organizations around the world. Our founders, Francine Chambers and Carinne Chambers-Saini started Diva to improve people’s lives by revolutionizing the period experience – access is core to this mission.
Today, we are evolving DivaCares into a large-scale corporate social responsibility initiative with the goal of improving access to menstrual care products in local and global communities. This program is geared towards taking action to help create menstrual equity in a tangible way, through product donation, financial giving and by adding a voice to the movement. We hope to eradicate period poverty through education, advocacy and awareness. Our official program launch comes with a dedicated website which will act as the central hub for DivaCares initiatives and news.
For many of us in the Diva community, DivaCares is a very personal passion. Having access to safe period care is a basic human right, and we are working to normalize this dialogue and put words into action. Period poverty has no restrictions- it’s experienced from within our neighborhoods to a global scale.
Our vision for DivaCares is to help create a world where menstruation is a fact of life, not life limiting.
Through access to product comes the freedom to live life without interruption, and these are all positive steps forward. We’ve committed to donate 15,000 DivaCups by the end of April 2020.
However, access to menstrual care products does not change the fact that the person menstruating may experience stigma and shame simply because they have a period – and until we can eliminate the taboos surrounding menstruation, true menstrual equity will not exist.
For this reason, DivaCares is also committed to advocacy and education, alongside of access. While in Canada, the Tampon Tax was eliminated in 2015, many countries still issue a tax on menstrual care products. The Tampon Tax has become an emblem of general attitudes toward women’s health: what we need to manage our health is, in fact, a “luxury.” With all the dialogue around the Tampon Tax as many states have eliminated it completely over the last year, it can be easy to forget that it’s only one piece of the puzzle.
And indeed, being able to access the product needed to care for your period is incredibly important. Jennifer Weiss-Wolf, who first coined the term “menstrual equity,” writes in her book Periods Gone Public:
“The ability to access [menstrual products] affects a person’s freedom to work and study, to be healthy, and to participate in daily life with basic dignity” (Weiss-Wolf, 2018, xvi).Through partnerships and sponsorships, DivaCares provides menstrual health education that aims to reduce stigma and establish menstrual equity as a norm. Through advocacy DivaCares is also working towards legislative change to make menstrual equity possible, and encouraging access by lowering the barriers to accessing menstrual care products.
Our partners have been advocating for menstrual equity before the topic hit news headlines. They are committed to the cause and through their passion to eliminate period poverty, they help us reach and make an impact in local and global communities. DivaCares is supporting PERIOD, the Ali Forney Center, Native Youth Sexual Health Network, Operation Courage is Beautiful, Be a Rose, and Diva Day. Our support to these organizations includes quantities of DivaCups, demo kits, educational materials and occasionally financial support.
Eliminating period poverty will require each of us (whether we experience a period or not) to confront the beliefs and taboos we hold about periods. DivaCares will help us move forward in this mission. But each of you can play a part. By donating product to your local food back or shelter, volunteering with one of our partners, or starting a menstrual care drive in your school, you too can make a difference. If you have a menstrual equity cause of your own, connect with our team at divacares.com or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Ultimately lend your voice. Only public disclosure and education can empower us to create a world that believes periods are powerful—not shameful.
If you are interested in a donation, sponsorship, or partnership, please submit your request here.
Featured Image: PERIOD Cup and Cloth Workshop in Corpus Christi, TX. Shared via Instagram (@period.ahhs).