Period Poverty and Intersectional Feminism with Maya Grebowsky
For my last “Scribbling” article this year, I had the best time talking to Maya Grebowsky about period poverty, intersectional feminism, and ways to help!
If you did not already know, last year, Maya created the Janie Foundation, whose “mission is to provide toiletries such as tampons and pads to people experiencing poverty, spread awareness on intersectional feminism, and empower women and girls”. Along with the help of LearnServe Fellows, Maya researched issues concerning BIPOC women and learned about how period poverty disproportionately affects BIPOC women. Before COVID, Maya talked to people working in homeless shelters such as Shepards Table and A Wider Circle to learn more about what people in the shelter may need, and confirming her research, they answered: period products.
To continue to help the women in the shelters throughout the pandemic, Maya used social media to spread awareness not only about period poverty but also about intersectional feminism. Instead of doing fundraisers like she originally planned, Maya organized a toiletry drive during September resulting in about 5000 more products for the women in homeless shelters. The Janie Foundation Instagram, in addition to posting information about drives, provides infographics about intersectional feminism to provide context in why and how intersectional feminism impacts period poverty. During my conversation with Maya, she said, “Feminism isn’t feminism if it is not intersectional” meaning, a true feminist unconditionally support all women to emphasize her goal within The Janie Foundation. Social media also helps improve period poverty by posting about it to remove the stigma against periods, which has a large impact when talking about poverty in general. Many times when people donate to homeless shelters, they provide clothes and shoes but not as many tampons/pads and toiletries.
Because of efforts such as The Janie Foundation, period poverty has started to become more discussed in politics. According to, Pro-Choice MD, the Maryland legislature passed a bill ensuring free period products in all women’s bathrooms in both public middle and high schools. To help expand access to period products, donate period products and toiletries in general (preferably eco-friendly products), spread awareness and write to representatives and local officials.
Obviously, if you want to learn more about The Janie Foundation, you should definitely talk to Maya, or go to their Instagram @thejaniefoundation!