"We passionately believe that every menstruator has the right to menstruate with dignity. Cycle Forward exists to ensure that this right is as widespread as possible and to promote female empowerment through our public health and humanitarian efforts to reduce stigma and provide access to period products."
Across the African continent, 1 in 10 girls miss school during their period due to a lack of affordable, accessible menstrual products and education. After reading this in an article in 2017, Sophie Draluck was inspired to take action. She quickly learned that stigma and period poverty, or the lack of affordable access to menstrual products and education, is a global problem impacting millions of women and girls worldwide – including girls in her own hometown. To combat this Sophie founded Cycle Forward, a nonprofit that advocates for menstrual equity and empowers women and girls in need by providing free access to menstrual products through partnerships with food pantries, shelters, and other organizations across the Chicago area, Florida, the United Kingdom, India, and Haiti. Getting tampons and pads into the hands of women and girls helps them fully participate in their communities with dignity. To date, Cycle Forward has partnered with 17 organizations to donate more than 75,000 tampons and pads to women and teens in need. Cycle Forward has also raised awareness about period poverty, advocated for menstrual equity, and fought the stigma surrounding periods through speaking events and menstrual product drives. When schools in the Chicago area reopen, Cycle Forward will resume its high school outreach program to introduce the subject of period poverty to various service clubs, funded by a HERlead-Vital Voices grant, and will work with them to create menstrual product partnerships with local food pantries.