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CALL FOR CUPS IN CORONAVIRUS CRISIS
When I sat down to write this article, I had intended to highlight female healthcare workers who were on the front lines of the Coronavirus. I wondered if there was a female counterpart to Dr. Fauci. I wondered which women were stepping up to shoulder the heavy burden of the world's health. I wanted stories of women in virology hunting for a vaccine. I found an article praising Prime Minister of New Zealand, Jacinda Ardern, and her leadership during the crisis. I found an article about Pennsylvania's Secretary of Health, Dr. Rachel Levine, and her Twitter advice. I didn't find my healthcare heroine.
It may be that the heroines of this crisis are yet to be discovered. It may very well be that their stories are never told, that they're overshadowed by their male colleagues. Historically, the efforts of women in science have been underreported and under-praised.
After reading and reading about what the healthcare workers in the United States and Italy are going through, I started to wonder how I could support them. Masks are all the rage these days, but they're high profile. Everyone knows they're needed and many people are trying to help. I tried to imagine what it must be like right now, to spend hours on my feet deciding who to give ventilators to and who to send home. I might not be curing COVID-19, but I'm helping people live who have it. It's possible I'm not even being paid or being underpaid for my efforts. And then it dawned on me - working those long hours, I'd sure as hell need some snacks and some feminine hygiene products.
Around three in four healthcare workers in this country are female. In a coronavirus outbreak that's promising to stretch on for months, nearly all of these people are going to have their period. If they're working overtime, multiple shifts, emergency rooms, and ambulances, they probably don't have much time to get to the store for their "lady supplies."
My conclusion was, then, send them all tampons and pads. In a crisis, these needs are rarely talked about and frequently neglected. But, that's a lot of products shipping out and a lot of waste to dispose of. If only there were a more eco-friendly solution…oh yeah…the cup. I myself use a menstrual cup and, after a little bit of trial and error, have been enjoying the freedom of not having to rush to the restroom every few hours. Plus, I don't generate a huge load of garbage every month.
Since I don't have boxes and boxes of menstrual cups laying around, I decided I'd contact the people who do. I never realized there were so many cups out there. I rounded up 15 of the most popular and wrote the following letter to them, asking if they could donate their products to women on the front lines.
Dear [Cup Company],
As you know, the COVID-19 crisis has hit us all fast and hard, leaving many healthcare facilities overwhelmed, unprepared, and under-supplied. In many countries, our healthcare workers are working long shifts, putting their own lives at risk with little protection for themselves. While the need for masks and other medical equipment is being felt, and calls are being answered by the community, I think there's another need that's being overlooked.
In my country, three-quarters of our healthcare workers are women. These ladies work long hours at hospitals and often have family duties once they get home. Since the COVID-19 outbreak is promising to last for several months, I think it's safe to assume a lot of these women are going to be working while on their periods. As an advocate for "the cup," I'd like to outfit these hard-working women with a menstrual aid that's going to last all day and not create a ton of waste.
I'm asking you, as a producer of menstrual cups, to reach out to the healthcare community. Please consider donating a supply of your products to help out the women who are working so hard for all of us. At least, please reach out to hospitals in your communities to ask if they could use your help. I understand that some cup producers are small companies, I understand that some have had to furlough their staff, and I understand that some of you may be overwhelmed. But, I think we owe it to our healthcare workers to help where we can. Perhaps a "buy one, donate one" marketing plan would benefit both your company and hospitals.
This is a trying time for all who are affected by the shut-downs, the social distancing, and the anxiety, but for those who have to go to the hospital day after day, it's a different story altogether. Let's try to do our part to support them.
I sent the above letter to the 15 companies below to ask them if they would contribute. Please consider doing the same to some or all of them yourself either by phone, email, or SM. Together, we may see some help for our period-having peeps on the front lines.
* "form on site" indicates that contact is only available through a form on the company website. Some phone numbers were unavailable.
1. Intimina Lily Cup (intimina.com)
2. Eva (www.anigan.com)
3. Diva Cup (www.divacup.com)
4. Enna Cycle (www.ennawomen.com)
form on site - owned by Ecareyou Innovation
+34 934 63 55 44 (Spain)
5. Organicup (organicup.com)
+46 8 4400466 (Sweden)
6. Monki and Lunette (store.lunette.com)
7. Mooncup (www.mooncup.co.uk)
+44(0) 1273 673845 (UK)
8. Kind Organic (www.kindorganic.com)
form on site
9. Lena Cup (www.lenacup.com)
10. Saalt Menstrual Cup (saaltco.com)
11. Dot (freepeople.com)
firstname.lastname@example.org - owned by Urban Outfitters
12. Super Jennie (superjennie.com)
13. Lunette (store.lunette.com)
14. Oi Menstrual Cup (oi4me.com)
15. MeLuna Shorty (meluna-usa.com)
form on site - offering masks
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