International Women’s Day was celebrated on Wednesday across the country and in Columbus with strikes and protesting, but Ohio State’s Multicultural Center is hoping to keep women’s issues front and center throughout Women’s History Month.
At the beginning of the month, the Multicultural Center’s Women Student Initiatives kicked off a donation drive that is accepting feminine hygiene products until March 24 to help women and girls receive the basic health necessities.
Candace Cooper, a third-year in social work and an intern with the Women’s Student Initiatives program, said cost can be a factor holding women back from being able to access hygiene products.
“We go through menstrual cycles, so feminine wipes, napkins and things of that nature should be given, free of charge,” Cooper said. “They might not have those resources at a women’s shelter and families that reside there may not know when their next source of income will be present — so we wanted to help alleviate those problems.”
Precious Tate, a second-year in public affairs, interns with WSI and volunteers at the YWCA. Tate said the drive is a great way for students to get involved in activism.
“I feel like the students definitely make a difference towards this impact, and because it is Women’s History Month, substantial efforts are being made to donate towards women,” she said. “The students here feel like they can make a difference towards the Columbus community.”
Turnout has been high so far, Cooper said, and those who are able to donate feminine products receive free Women’s History Month T-shirts.
“With the climate that we are in now, women’s issues are now on the forefront, especially with the Women’s March and the fear of contraceptives not being available, or having certain health care providers that do not have accessible health care,” Cooper said. “The climate and demand for women to come together and alleviate these issues is why the hygiene product drive is bigger than we expected it to be.”
The drive is being held in collaboration with OSU’s Ladies of Leadership mentoring program, and the products will be donated to the YWCA of Central Ohio and the Huckleberry House Emergency Overnight Shelter, Tate said.
For Cooper, the drive is bigger than just the amount of donations it receives.
“This is a testament of being our own sister’s keeper, making sure we look out for each other,” Cooper said. “The feminine hygiene product drive is simple and subtle but speaks volumes because of the situation that women are in today, and it is able to give those resources and programs that let them know that WSI is here for women’s needs.”