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[Fall 2018] Harmony in Society: Team POWER

Team Name: POWER

Team Members: Sumin Yi, Jaewon Lee, Sejeen Park

The topic we are going to address is period poverty. Period poverty is a serious social issue that affects women of low-income families, girls in single-parent households, etc. It arises for economic reasons, as the treatment of menstruation products as ‘luxury items’ makes them unaffordable for many. As a result, some girls are forced to use shoe soles or toilet paper instead, or go for hours or days without changing their pads/tampons/etc. Such unsanitary practices can lead to health hazards, such as urinal tract infections like cystitis. The issue is being worsened by the stigma surrounding periods. Many people carry the misconception that periods and period products are sexually charged terms; as a result, people tend to shy away from discussing related-issues in public spaces. Though there are many charities drives for food and clothes, there is a sever lack of drives tackling period poverty. We, as well as our interviewee from 한국 한부모가정 사랑회, strongly believe that such phenomena arise from period taboo.

Despite period poverty being a pressing issue, not many people are even aware of what period poverty is. According to one of our surveys, over 90% of college students in Seoul are unfamiliar with the term. We believe that in order to make a difference, we must first raise awareness. Our solution is to take advantage of the rising popularity of webtoons to talk about period poverty. Instead of younger students, we will target adults with disposable income. College students are the perfect starting audience, as they are the ones who read webtoon comics and have disposable income. We will collaborate with popular webtoon artists like 이자까 of ‘대학일기’ and/or 쇼쇼 of ‘애기 낳는 만화,’ as they have an established fan-following. At the end of each episode, a QR code will be provided, linking people to pages that make it easier to donate to institutions that are trying to fight period poverty, like 한국 한부모가정 사랑회. Our social impact will be measured through the increased number of products, money, etc. donated to the aforementioned organizations. Once our comic and the social cause gains more attention, we hope to be able to collaborate with period product companies like Yuhan-Kimberly. We will propose to have shortened versions of our comic printed on the back of their period products, along with the QR code. Our short-term goal is to raise awareness through our collaborated comic strips, encouraging people to donate to the cause. Our long-term goal is to ultimately eliminate period poverty and period taboo.

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