Pull-Ups for Periods: One CrossFit Coach’s Fight To End Period Poverty

March 9, 2021 by
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With National Women’s Month underway, it can be easy to get lost in celebrating all the unique achievements of women and how far the Women’s Rights movement has come over the years.

However, while March is an important month for celebrating women’s achievements, it’s also an important time to recognize the challenges and struggles that women still face, especially those who live in poverty or have limited access to resources.

One big thing: Women’s health, especially around the topic of periods has long been in the shadows and perceived as something private or even shameful. However, Massachusetts CrossFit Coach Aurora Vellante is looking to change that.

  • “Period poverty is the lack of access to sanitary products and menstrual hygiene education,” she said.
  •  “Poor menstrual hygiene can cause physical health risks and has been linked to reproductive and urinary tract infections,” she continued. 
  • “It also stops young women from reaching their full potential when they miss out on opportunities crucial to their growth and pursuit of an education,” she concluded.

The impact on students: While period poverty impacts women of all ages, Vellante wants to focus specifically on its impact on students.

  • Girls working hard on their education and setting a foundation for their future can often be held back by period poverty if they don’t have proper access to the right resources.
  • “Among this demographic of students, COVID has been yet another challenge to navigate normalcy while already trying to navigate financial strain and not having access to the developmental support they need,” Vellante said.
  • According to the US Census Bureau, women are more likely to live in poverty than men.
  • Not only that, but according to UNICEF, women spend an average of 2,535 days on their period, which amounts to thousands of dollars spent on sanitary products. Thousands of dollars, which many women don’t have.

The solution: In recognizing the immediate problem at hand, Vellante knew she had to do something to take action, even if it was just within her own local community.

  • During the month of March, Vellante will be collecting boxes of both tampons and pads/liners to build “kits” (one box of tampons and one box of pads/liners) to distribute to those who cannot afford it at Everett High School in Massachusetts.
  • For each kit built, Vellante and her training partners Amanda Gil and Tracy Fuller will perform one round of Cindy (5 pull-ups, 10 push-ups, and 15 air squats)
  • People can donate via Vellante’s Amazon wishlist and have the sanitary products shipped right to her gym for distribution.

The big picture: While women have made significant progress in the fight for equality, there is still a long way to go as millions of women still live in poverty without proper access to basic healthcare needs. However, it’s little things like this that make a big impact and change lives one period at a time.

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