Quantcast
5 Black Women Revolutionizing How We Manage Our Periods

5 Black Women Revolutionizing How We Manage Our Periods

These leaders are advocating for taking the shame away and innovating technologies for reproductive health.

Women's Health

We've all been dealing with a menstrual period for quite some time, and many of us know a lot about the best pads, tampons, and cups that work for our cycles and respective lifestyles. But did you know that a black woman actually revolutionized the menstrual pad in its early inception and was able to patent five inventions, more than any other African American woman in history?

Mary Beatrice Davidson Kenner, who grew up in a family of entrepreneurs and inventors, bought her first patent, which was for the sanitary belt, in the 1950s---well before disposable pads would become the norm. It featured a "moisture-proof napkin pocket" that would help women avoid leaks that ruin their clothes. Discrimination would keep Kenner from becoming rich from her pursuits, according to reports, but she did it for the love and was still a pioneer as a black female patent-holding inventor.

Here are five other black women who have been leaders in the realm of women's menstrual health and have empowered black women around the world to take charge of their own reproductive advocacy:

Crystal Etienne, Founder, Ruby Love

Image via Ruby Love

Crystal Etienne founded this company, formerly known as PantyProp, to offer undergarments with absorbancy that gets rid of the need for tampons or pads. The brand is even one of the first to offer swimwear (I live!) and has an amazing backstory of entrepreneurial triumph. Etienne took $25,000 to start the company in her home in 2015 and reportedly made $300,000 in its first year. It would eventually see sales upwards of $10 million by its third year. Along with period underwear, the brand has period kits, activewear, and double-sided pads, and it recently landed a $15 million investment deal to continue the company's expansion.

Beatrice Dixon, Founder, The Honey Pot Co.

Image via Instagram/@iambeadixon

This brand includes tampons and pads that are chemical-free, 100% cotton, and herbal-infused. They also have feminine care feminine care systems (with the same awesome qualities) that feature wipes and washes to cleanse, refresh, soothe, and balance, and you can take a quiz to figure out what system works for your needs. Beatrice Dixon founded the company after struggling with bacterial vaginosis---a common condition that affects 29% of women ages 14-49 and has a higher prevalence among black women (51%) than their white counterparts (23%). After not being able to find remedies that were natural and effective, she decided to be the change she wanted to see. After "an ancestor" visited her in a dream, she worked to formulate plant-based products for the nether-regions, and The Honey Pot Co. was born.

Linda Goler Blount, President & CEO, Black Women's Health Imperative (BWHI)

Image via Black Women's Health Imparative

Linda Goler Blount oversees the strategy and implementation of this organization's initiatives which work toward health equity and reproductive justice for black women. Last year, the BWHI launched an initiative called the Positive Period! Campaign, raising funds to provide 2,000 menstrual cups for women and girls in Kigali, Rwanda and Atlanta, Ga. in partnership with the Freedom Cup Company. Purchases of the cups will be matched 3-to-1. The organization has also hosted talks with women in an effort to lift the shame related to menstruation and reproductive health issues in the black community and has forged relationships with other diaspora communities to open dialogue on the issue, raise awareness for more advanced gynecological and reproductive healthcare resources and research for black women.

Tanika Gray Valbrun, Founder, The White Dress Project

Image via The White Dress Project

This founder suffered from excessive bleeding and other symptoms of uterine fibroids and decided to start her own organization where women could find information, sisterhood, and advocacy. She was also able to rally for the passing of a resolution to make July Fibroids Awareness Month in Georgia, and the campaign continues for other states. Fibroids, benign tumors that cause heavy bleeding and pain and can lead to infertility, are more prevalent among black women (with studies showing that 60% will have them by 35). They can wreak havoc on your menstrual cycle, self-esteem, and overall quality of life, so having resources that centralize support for black women is key especially since there are still disparities for us in terms of healthcare resources and treatment related to our reproductive systems and maternal health. The White Dress Project sponsors events where women wear white to lift the shame and honor healthcare leaders as well as other fibroid survivors including Real Housewives of Atlanta's Cynthia Bailey.

Shanicia Boswell, Founder, Black Moms Blog

Image via Instagram/@shaniciaboswell

Shanicia Boswell's platform isn't totally dedicated to menstrual health but Boswell covers issues like "free bleeding" and reproductive health for black women, along with content that advocates for African American maternity health and parenting resources. She's even hosted a "Period Party" in Atlanta last month as an "educational celebration on period health, fibroid prevention, and natural family planning." She's used her platform to promote its "Menstrual Drives" where donations of tampons, pads and cups are given to local homeless women. She also sheds light on stories of black women entrepreneurs and innovators who promote healthy living for black women.

Want more stories like this? Sign up for our newsletter here to receive our latest articles and news straight to your inbox.

Featured Image by Shutterstock

Your July 2022 Horoscopes Are All About Happiness, Release & Divinity

July is the month to focus on allowing yourself to receive. There are beautiful opportunities for blessings this month when you can get out of your own way, and release self-doubt. With Cancer Season here, emotions are flowing, love is showing up, and home is wherever your happiness is. The power of attraction is strong this month as Pallas enters Gemini on July 4 as well, and deep insights are prevailing. July is the time to gain the clarity and answers you have been looking for, and decide where to move forward from there.

Keep reading...Show less
The daily empowerment fix you need.
Make things inbox official.
How To Focus Less On Who You Attract In Dating & More On Who You Entertain

The law of attraction is tricky. A few years ago, I felt something was deeply wrong with me because I kept attracting people who hurt me. No matter how hard I tried to fix myself, and alter my energy, the same type of people kept coming my way. I'd talk to my friends about it and ask them, "Why do I keep attracting this type of person? Why do I keep having the same experiences?"

Keep reading...Show less
Here’s What’s Streaming On Netflix And HBO Max In July

There’s nothing like finding a good TV series or movie to watch on your favorite streaming services. The summer is the perfect time to explore what’s new and exciting or revisit an oldie but goodie. Both Netflix and HBO Max have some exciting and new releases for July. From HBO Max’s Rap Sh*t, which is presented by Issa Rae to the season three premiere of Ludacris’ Netflix animated series Karma’s World, there are plenty of options to choose from. So get your streaming on below.

Keep reading...Show less
Kelis On The Importance Of Having Black Women On Her Team

As a Black woman, Kelis knows how important it is to work with other Black women, help each other and give each other opportunities. The “Milkshake” singer has always been a voice for female empowerment with her popular female anthems like “Caught Out There” and “Bossy” and in a chat during Refinery 29’s Unbothered Presents The Glow Up festival, Kelis opened up about the Black women behind her legendary career and how Black women should create safe spaces for ourselves.

Keep reading...Show less
10 Romantic Date Ideas That Absolutely Bring The Heat

As you may know by now, the summer produces some of the best and most nostalgic soundtracks of our lives. The mood is set by fun and light sounds of the past and present, giving you the playlist that you need for the summer you want. Summer, no matter how hot, is a magical season where anything can happen, especially in the romance department. Long nights and short days act as a backdrop to new beginnings, summer flings, and the possibility for more (depending on what you’re looking for). But it doesn’t mean the romance has to be dull, regardless of the timeline you’re hoping to create. Like I said before, summer is what you make it so the options are limitless.

Keep reading...Show less
Exclusive Interviews
A Black woman looks into the camera and gives a closed-mouth smile. She's wearing a black turtleneck

Miss Diddy Kicks Off BET Awards Weekend With 'A Toast To Black Hollywood'

Her annual event to celebrate the culture has a new name and more intention than ever before

Latest Posts