Melissa Berton: Founder & Executive Director
Melissa Berton: Advocate for Women & Girls
Melissa presides over The Board of Directors, Advisory Board (current college students and founders of The Pad Project), and Youth Advisory Board (current high school students) as they host menstrual hygiene donation drives and create social media campaigns to raise awareness about menstrual health, period poverty, and equal access to education for girls. In addition to overseeing staff and strategy, Melissa engages philanthropists, influencers, and world health organizations in the quest for menstrual justice. She speaks at global conferences, universities, and public and private institutions to sound the rallying cry of gender equity and the end of period stigma worldwide.
LAUNCHING A MOVEMENT
With the support of family and friends, Melissa and the Pad Project Team created the documentary PERIOD. END OF SENTENCE. which aims to inspire people everywhere to think globally and recognize the impact young women can have to dispel the stigmas surrounding menstruation. The documentary raises awareness about the power of education and demonstrates the impact of launching a micro-economy.
2019 Academy Award- Winning Short Documentary PERIOD. END OF SENTENCE., screened across the U.S. at film festivals in 2018 winning numerous awards and premiered on Netflix in February 2019. It follows the women of Kathikhera, a village outside of New Delhi, India, as they install a machine and sell their pads throughout their district. The movement goes beyond the screen as the pad project continues to work to raise funds, awareness, and education throughout the world.
“A period should end a sentence , not a girls education” – best quote of the night ✨#OSCARS – Reese Witherspoon
“A movie about that icky thing known as menstruation just won an Academy Award. “A period should end a sentence not a girl’s education.” Amen sister #Oscars – Melissa Silverstein
Our work, in a way, has just begun. We have been humbled and overwhelmed by how many people relate to this issue.
I would hope that people take away an awareness that periods are a source of strength, not a source of shame, that the fight for menstrual justice is a real fight, it’s a worthwhile fight, and that girls and women can do so much to help the world when they are invited to participate as full and equal citizens. On a personal level, if anybody has a passion for an injustice and they want to take action, they can do it.
Founder & Executive Director of The Pad Project
“The subject touched me because I would hate for somebody’s intellectual growth and opportunity to stop because of a natural bodily process. I see how brave my students are in terms of their own advocacy, and I saw that they can be advocates in a way that’s more convincing than adults about this issue.”