Stream it on Netflix: https://www.netflix.com/title/81074663
When a group of feminist high school students at Oakwood School in North Hollywood first learned about the taboo surrounding menstruation in developing countries, they were compelled to do something about it. Through an organization called Girls Learn International, they were paired with a partner organization in India, and were alarmed to discover how the attitudes around menstruation impacted women’s ability to get an education and seek work.
So, the student members of Girls Learn International,along with their teacher Melissa Berton, raised funds to send a manual pad-making machine and a year’s worth of supplies to women in Hapur, a tiny rural village outside of Delhi, India. The pad machine would not only provide pads for the women to use, but also create a micro-economy for the women running the machine.
Being from Los Angeles, the students understood the power of film, and tapped director Rayka Zehtabchi to make a documentary to raise awareness about the cause. The end product, Period. End of Sentence., which is streaming on Netflix now, follows women in Hapur as they learn to make pads and educate other men and women in their community about menstruation.
“We learned that [menstruation is] very complex, and it’s a multi-layered issue — something that has been deeply rooted, a stigma deeply rooted, in Indian culture and society forever,” says Rayka Zehtabchi, director of Period. End of Sentence. Many women they interviewed for the documentary had initially never heard of pads before, or had and felt too embarrassed to buy them. Others couldn’t explain what a period was, they just knew it was bad. “When so few people talk about it, and there’s very little information around what this natural phenomenon really is, it starts to build fear around it,” she says.