The Northern Iowa Feminists (NIF), formerly the Feminist Action League, are running a drive for menstrual products called the Red Basket Project this March in conjunction with Women’s History Month. They are accepting every kind of menstrual product, including tampons, pads, menstrual cups and sponges — all of which will be donated to Cedar Valley Friends of the Family. Donations can be made on campus via collection boxes through March 31.
Anna Nett, president of the NIF, believes The Red Basket Project serves two functions.
“One is to help provide options for people who have periods who may be in unfortunate situations. Everyone deserves to be comfortable,” Nett said. “The second one is to raise awareness regarding the necessity of making period products available and to remind people to donate period supplies when making normal donations to shelters or food pantries.”
NIF treasurer Brenna Wolfe highlighted the problem of overlooking period products when donating to homeless or women’s shelters.
“The reality is that menstrual products have an unfortunately high price. A box of tampons can cost seven to 10 dollars,” Wolfe said. “For women and families who are already struggling financially, menstrual products are often too much money.”
For homeless individuals, period products can be difficult to access. When giving to shelters, donors tend to focus on food, water and clothing.
“Which is great,” Wolfe said. “However, menstrual products are a forgotten necessity that homeless women and trans individuals desperately need.”
The Red Basket Project implemented at UNI is modeled in collaboration with a chapter in Dubuque of the same name. The Red Basket Project in Dubuque places tampons and pads in the women’s restrooms at the Dubuque Rescue Mission and the Dubuque Food Pantry, as well as creates Period Packs of supplies for guidance counselors to distribute to students who may not otherwise have access to menstruation products.
“We want to send the message with this project that periods are normal and that everyone deserves to have one that is relatively comfortable,” Nett said. “There should not be a stigma attached.”
The NIF encourages all UNI students, faculty and staff to donate.
As for the mission of the organization NIF public relations director Rylee Junk believes that equality and inclusion are key.
“The mission of the Northern Iowa Feminists is to recognize gender and sex-related issues and advocate for the equality of all genders and sexes,” Junk said. “In doing so, we recognize the intersection of identities within these communities and research how we can support all of these identities through feminism.”
Wolfe also echoed this sentiment of inclusivity when describing NIF’s overall mission.
“Northern Iowa Feminists is not a man-hating, feminazi group for women only,” Wolfe said. “We are open to anyone and everyone.”
NIF meetings take place every Tuesday at 8 p.m. in the Oak Room, located in the basement of Maucker Union. Collection boxes for The Red Basket Project can be found at the WRC, Social Work Department Office, WGS Department Office, LGBT* Center, the NISG Office, Hagemann Hall Office and the Dean of Education’s Office until March 31.
Those who wish to donate after March can still do so by contacting Rylee Junk at [email protected]