health education

Campaigns Focus On Period Education For Young Women

Young women’s lack of knowledge about menstruation is a common thread of two current nonprofit educational campaigns, one in Florida, the other worldwide.

Countering Florida’s “Don’t Say Period” Law

“Florida won’t teach you about your period,” declares “That’s why we created a font that replaces period punctuation with period education.”

The Sans Period font contains periods in the shape of blood drops that reveal 36 menstruation facts, changing automatically with every letter and period combination. A sample: “Each month you’ll lose some blood from your vagina. That’s your period.”

The font, from Portland-Ore.-based nonprofit Period, is in response to Florida’s so-called “Don’t Say Period” law, passed last year and now preventing students below ninth grade from receiving any classroom education on human sexuality and reproductive health, including menstruation.



“The irony is that almost all people with periods get them before high school,” notes Period, explaining that in-school education is vital because its research shows that 23% of kids never talk about periods at home.

“Kids need to know about menstruation before they experience their first period. Period," states Dina Peck, chief creative officer of Omnicom Health Group's Purpose Group, in a press release.

Omnicom’s Patients & Purpose agency approached Period with the font idea and developed the concept pro bono, the nonprofit’s strategic communications officer Emily Swanigan tells Marketing Daily.

The main aim is education and awareness, Swanigan points out, noting that downloading the font for use in an application like Microsoft Word would result in periods too small to really reveal much. Rather, she says, students have been encouraged to use Sans Period with presentation software like Adobe, “to play around with the font, manipulate it…do art projects with it.”

From the start, she says, “the  goal was to try something that was fun, captivating and a strategic response to the bill,” which is now Florida law.

While the font itself launched in the fall, Patients & Purpose just this week began running several pro bono digital billboards placed to reach girls riding on school buses between 7 am and 8 am. The boards, in the Sans Period font, feature  such phrases as “Let’s break the rules” and “Want in on a secret?,” along with the URL, where they can download the font. The out-of-home is scheduled to run for about 15 days.

Organic social media promotion of the educational and awareness initiative has predominantly come through local Florida youth-led chapters of Period, which describes itself as a “youth-powered” nonprofit.

Fighting Anemia

A one-week global campaign from the World Anemia Awareness nonprofit calls not for school education but for talking about menstruation at home as it targets “the 40% of young women who are part of this silent pandemic of anemia and iron deficiency.”

The campaign launched Tuesday to mark World Anemia Awareness Day.

The cause of the anemia/iron deficiency “pandemic” is largely “unreported, unrecognized heavy menstrual bleeding,” states Dr Carolyn Burns, president of the Society for the Advancement of Patient Blood Management, in a video.

The campaign itself – from the World Anemia Awareness nonprofit and funded by another nonprofit, Human Touch Media Foundation – largely uses organic social media to bring the issue to the forefront.

“We had found through our participation in online community groups focused on anemia/iron deficiency, many lacked the information and knowledge to communicate effectively with medical professionals,” Lydia Delaney, Human Touch media & communications director, tells Marketing Daily.

Part of communicating effectively with doctors, according to the campaign, is being able to disagree with them.

“Thirteen represents the optimal hemoglobin number for good blood health across the board for all genders. Anything below 13 is not normal, even if your doctor disagrees,” states  Sherri Ozawa, MSN, RN, author of the Human Touch book, "Blood Works: An Owner's Guide.” "We need to be empowered to ask the right questions and take control of our own health," she adds.

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