“When a girl gets her period in the United States, she may miss a class. When a girl gets her period in a developing country, she may never go to school again. A period should end a sentence, not a girl’s education. But, unfortunately, that’s exactly what’s happening all over the world.”The Pad Project, Period. End of Sentence. film

Last night, at the 91st Academy Awards, Iranian-American director Rayka Zehtabchi, and a hardworking group of students, parents, and teachers from a small high school in Los Angeles, California, took home the Best Documentary Short Oscar for their film, Period. End of Sentence. In 26 awareness-raising, inspiration-packed minutes, the story they tell transforms the narrative that surrounds menstruation in many parts of the world from one of “shame and secrecy” to “a source of enlightenment and pride.” (click image above to watch film trailer)

Both critically-acclaimed and multi-award-winning, Period. End of Sentence., which is available to stream on Netflix, “follows girls and women in Hapur, India and their experience with the installation of a pad machine in their village. One young woman, Sneha, tells her dreams of becoming a police officer. Another girl discusses the taboo of menstruation, the importance of education, and how she had to drop out of school when she got her period.

“Soon, all of the women we meet are determined to work on the pad machine (which will earn them more money than their prior work in the fields), and to create a micro-economy to support themselves for the very first time.  As the inventor of the machine, Murugananthem (pictured below), says: ‘The strongest creature on earth is not the elephant, not the tiger, but the girl.'”

In continuing to drive awareness, fight for “menstruation equality”, and bust the taboo of menstruation beyond their now Academy Award-winning film, the filmmakers have created The Pad Project, a California non-profit corporation. They note, “Our biggest hope is to get as many people as involved as possible, so that no girl will ever have to miss school because of her period again (which happens in low-income areas in the United States as well, which we also raise money for).”