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Women Who Changed Menstruation

Kaitlyn Luckow

Today is International Women’s Day and today, we wanted to celebrate awesome ladies doing incredible things, but we wanted to focus on women who are often overlooked: the women who have helped make breakthroughs in menstruation and menstrual products.

Here are some women throughout history, and some who are working hard today, that have changed the way that we look at and menstruate on a daily basis.  


Mary Beatrice Davidson Kenner

In the 1920s, Mary Beatrice Davidson Kenner, an African-American inventor, created the sanitary belt. This was revolutionary because it was the first product to ever use adhesive to help keep the pad in place. However, her patent wasn’t even used until 1956 due to racial discrimination. The initial company that showed interest in her designs for a sanitary belt turned her away because they found out that she was African American.  

Kenner went on to invent other things such as a tissue holder and a back washer for a tub. On top of inventing these household items, Kenner owned and worked at her own floral shop as a professional floral arranger.  


Rupi Kaur

Kaur first entered the conversation surrounding menstruation when Instagram took down a photo of hers where her menstrual blood had stained her pants. This started a whole conversation about the taboo surrounding menstruation.

From there, Kaur went on to publish poetry collections that have become bestsellers largely due to her messages of empowerment and her honesty when discussing bodily functions.

In one of her poems published in her first collection, “Milk and Honey”, Kaur writes:

“apparently it is ungraceful of me /to mention my period in public /cause the actual biology /of my body is too real."

Ann Friedman and Aminatou Sow 

The bestie team behind the podcast Call Your Girlfriend, these two women have been shattering taboos around the discussion of menstruation since their podcast began in 2014.  

They are always discussing women experiences on their show and have dedicated multiple shows to menstruation, advocating for yourself at the OBGYN, and even menstrual poops (they’re crazy, right?!). Their newsletter is called The Bleed and their mission is to be “unapologetic feminists who support everyone’s right to autonomy over their own body.”


Nadya Okamoto

When she was just 16, Okamoto founded PERIOD, which is now the largest youth-run NGO in Women’s Health. PERIOD was built to help serve, educate, and advocate for menstrual rights around the world by the power of young people and volunteers. They believe that menstrual care is a basic human right.

Okamoto has also published a book (Period Power:  A Manifesto for the Menstrual Movement)  and is globally recognized for her ability to mobilize and empowering young people, her marketing skills, as well as her talents as a public speaker.



What other people do you know in your lives that have been pushing the conversation of menstrual rights forward? Give them some love in the comments below, or tell us about them on our Facebook or Instagram pages.


Meanwhile, we ladies in the Nannocare team are striving to bring innovation to women around the world. We all deserve something better and healthier for our menstruation and for our life! -Note from Nannocare team.

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