Period. End of Sentence. is a mere 26 minutes long, but that’s long enough to tell how something as simple as a sanitary pad can change the lives of women. The documentary just won the 2019 Oscar for Best Documentary Short Subject. It’s available on Netflix.
Period. End of Sentence. tells how women in India began the business of manufacturing sanitary pads for the village women around them.
There is so much ignorance and stigma about menstruation in the Indian village in the film. Women found it difficult to talk about. Some people regard it as a illness. It’s considered unclean. Girls – particularly schoolgirls – often had to miss a week of school due to their periods.
The problem was both information about how the body worked and access to sanitary pads.
A sanitary pad machine was installed in the village in the documentary. Women were trained to manufacture and market their own pads. The women gained money, respect, self-worth, and the return of a week out of every month they’d formerly lost.
The women name their brand FLY, because they want women to soar. They carried boxes of the pads from home to home by hand to introduce the village women to it. The Fly pads were much less expensive than the commercial brands that were beyond the villagers means. And they were more absorbent.
Rayka Zehtabchi created and directed the film. According to this article at Yahoo, it takes $11,000 for a machine and a year’s worth of supplies. The money for the first machine, the one in the film, came from a group of California high school kids lead by teacher Melissa Berton. They raised the money themselves. When Berton spoke at the Oscars, she said, “I share this with teachers and with students around the world. A period should end a sentence — not a girl’s education!”
Because of the attention the film received, even before the Oscars, they have been able to raise enough money for 2 more machines. The high schoolers in California named their project The Pad Project. You can donate at The Pad Project site.
Take a few minutes and watch this documentary. After you’ve seen it, perhaps you’ll consider donating.