December 19, 2019 | 1:49 pm

Project Team: Gaurav Mulchandani, Arham Baid, Ishika Goel, Leonor Alcaraz, and McKenna O’Keefe

Course: Design Methodology, Fall 2019

It is reported that, in the United States, about two-thirds of women in lower-income groups can’t afford menstrual health products like tampons and pads. More than one-in-five women across the United States have reported they made do with unhygienic options, greatly suffering from poor menstrual health management (MHM). ​64% of the women classified menstrual products as “highly expensive”, half of whom had to choose between food and menstrual products. These practices of maintaining poor menstrual health have a strong association with fatal health problems such as cervical cancer.

With statistics reporting that 36% of women had to miss days of work due to poor MHM, there are serious questions about gender equality that can be raised. Lack of period supplies can detrimentally impact women’s ability to perform at work, school, and in day-to-day necessities. Period poverty impacts those already disadvantaged and perpetuates a cycle of poverty.

FreeFlow offers a sustainable and convenient process for obtaining period products in a time of need. Originally ideated to improve the affordability and accessibility of period products, FreeFlow is a biodegradable menstrual pad and dispenser system designated for individual restroom stalls on university campuses. FreeFlow is located conveniently when and where you need it, because our team believes period products should be treated as a fundamental human necessity, not a privilege.

Jacobs Winter Design Showcase 2019 at Jacobs Hall. Photo by Adam Lau/Berkeley Engineering.