WGS department holds product drive to benefit local homeless

Toni Pennello , Staff Writer

A Huffington Post article written by Jessica Kane last May calculated that a woman will spend an estimated $18,171 in her lifetime to take care of a bodily function over which she has no control: her menstrual cycle. That’s $18,171 more dollars than a person with a Y chromosome will spend.

Why is that extra X chromosome so expensive, and how do local homeless women tend to this inevitable monthly issue? The Women’s and Gender Studies Department at Wilkes is taking a step to help women overcome this obstacle.

The Women’s and Gender Studies department is holding a feminine hygiene drive, from which 100 percent of proceeds will go to Ruth’s Place, a local women’s shelter.

The department is requesting pads, tampons, baby wipes, panty liners and other feminine hygiene products, as well as coupons for these products. Donations can be brought to Breiseth 323, the SUB lounge, or donation boxes located in residence halls.

“When people think homeless, they think of veterans and drug addicts, but they think of men, because women have kids and stuff, so it’s so much less safe for women to be homeless,” said Dr. Jennifer Thomas, chair of the department.

The drive was the brain-child of psychology major and women’s studies intern Alexandra Devarie, who said she was inspired by it being Victims’ Awareness Month.

“I wanted (Alexandra) to put on an event, and internationally menstruation is a barrier to women’s education,” Thomas stated.

Thomas pointed out the efforts taking place in third world countries, where girls’ periods are causing them to miss a significant amount of school because they lack the funds for hygiene products and may lack water in schools.

“That leads us to here to where we take for granted how expensive it is to be a woman compared to a man,” Thomas said, adding that the discussion was brought up in class and one of her male students had never thought of the issue of menstruation in homeless women before.

In addition to the drive, which is projected to be taking place until late May, the department will be making other fundraising efforts, which students can keep an eye out for.

“We are definitely going to do a bake sale type deal to fund raise and we will also have a donation jar that individuals can feel free to donate to if they wish,” Devarie said.