Thursday, January 28, 2010

iPads or iAid?

Within seconds of the unveiling of the iPad by Steve Jobs, Twitter lit up with women complaining and/or joking that the name immediately made them think of a certain feminine hygiene product. #iTampon was the #1 trending topic on Twitter yesterday and remains so this morning.
That is from a half tongue-in-cheek post by Bill Easterly at Aid Watch.  The comments section has a lot of back and forth about the state of feminism in the US, but one comment in particular caught my eye.  One person griped: "I thought this was an aid blog," and went on to say that the post was more suited for a tabloid.

Well, it turns out that this issue does relate to aid.  The likelihood that girls in developing countries will stay in school once they hit puberty is directly affected by their access to sanitary pads.  If they don't have them (along with private bathroom facilities at school), they tend to drop out.

The silver lining of the controversy is that it raised consciousness about this problem on Twitter and Facebook. As a result of tweets and Facebook posts, 28 donors gave $1,300 to that provides affordable sanitary pads for girls in Uganda.  A total of over 1,200 donors has now given $56,000 to this project.  Keep in mind that $30 is enough to help keep a girl in school for an entire year!