The term “period poverty” may be unfamiliar to many. But for Dr. Elesia Glover ’18, PhD in Public Policy and Administration, the issue ignited outrage—and a mission to help girls access the feminine hygiene products they need to stay in school.
“Many women cannot afford the feminine hygiene essentials they need for themselves and their daughters,” Glover explains. For girls in middle and high school, this lack of access often comes at a hefty price: missing class. “School nurses told me they would often run out of these supplies halfway through the year. Then they or teachers use their own funds to try to create a supply. If not, students just call a parent to pick them up or they drive themselves home. I saw it as an obstacle that should not exist.”
To help overcome this obstacle, Glover started Posh Pack, an organization that supplies feminine hygiene products to middle schools and high schools in Georgia and beyond. She wanted to create a way for girls to get what they need without feeling embarrassed. The name “Posh Pack” is discreet enough that young women feel comfortable asking for it in the classroom. It’s a stylish, simple pink and purple bag with two pads inside and a postcard on feminine hygiene health.
Glover grew up in a family of educators—her mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, and all her aunts. She remembers hearing stories of kids who washed their clothes at school or who didn’t have enough food at home. It was these anecdotes that nurtured her deep and lifelong commitment to advocacy.
“One of the things that attracted me to Walden was the social change foundation across all their programs,” she says. “My degree gives me access to conversations I would not have had access to before. It also increased my confidence in what I was capable of.”
“It would not make sense to bring your own toilet paper every time you use a public restroom. So why would we put young women, and women in general, in this position where they have to bring their own feminine products to school?”
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought the issue of period poverty to the forefront, prompting Glover and her team to temporarily expand their mission. “We’ve had to adapt to serve women in general, because we’ve had so many organizations reach out and ask us for help. We just gave more than 1,200 pads to a mental health institute for women in Georgia.”
Glover says when the pandemic subsides, they will refocus on students. She looks forward to continuing to expand Posh Pack across different states. “I think about the girl who already has a lot going on, who wants to be successful, but feels like all odds are against her,” she says. “If I can take one thing off of her plate, I’m more than happy to do that.”