By Erin Hambidge, Staff Writer
// In alignment with their goal of creating an inclusive and welcoming campus environment, the Acalanes High School Diversity Board provided students with a place to discuss female-oriented issues.
The Diversity Board hosted a meeting on Friday, Jan. 15 to discuss how the stigma surrounding menstruation affects female equity.
Attendees first watched “Period. End of Sentence”, a documentary telling the story of a group of Indian women who fought against the long-standing prejudices regarding menstruation and began producing and selling pads. The initial goal of making sanitary period products soon became a successful business that made pads available and affordable to all women in surrounding villages and cities.
“I thought that the movie we watched was super eye-opening and it brought up a lot of topics and problems that I never gave much thought on… I believe that it is very meaningful to educate each other on these situations,” freshman Zoya Acuña said.
Once the movie finished playing, participants engaged in a discussion about the film. The conversation soon moved to broader topics such as the pink tax and the impact the taboo on menstruation has on women everywhere.
“These topics are things I had definitely heard of but didn’t know much about. I think it is really unfair for stigmas like these to exist because they only cause harm,” junior Emily Starn said.
The Diversity Board guided the dialogue around focus questions, and as the discussion progressed more students chimed in and added to other people’s opinions.
“Everyone was super respectful of each other and personally, I felt safe sharing my opinions,” junior Franny Daughters said.
For students who did not feel comfortable talking, the chat feature on Zoom allowed them to contribute to the conversation and ask questions.
“I liked how active the chat was because if I didn’t have a response to one of the questions or I didn’t understand what was being asked, I could easily listen to what everyone was saying, learn from this opportunity, and then write something in the chat like, ‘I never thought of that’ or ‘that’s a really good point,” Acuña said.
Many students saw this meeting as the first step towards creating a positive campus culture regarding the topic of menstruation.
“I think these conversations are so important. Change starts with a small group of people that are really passionate about something. My hope is that more people will start coming to these meetings or else the message won’t spread,” Starn said.