• Stars That Shine WV

Women’s History Month Fact! Who is Mary Kenner?

In honor of our Period Poverty Campaign we like to share a little history on the inventor of the sanitary belt. We now refer to this invention as “pads”. However, the work determination and intelligence of one woman changed menstrual hygiene forever.

In 1957, Mary Beatrice Davidson Kenner, filed for her very first patent: a belt for sanitary napkins, an idea she created when she was 18 years old, long before the modern-day maxi pad and during a time when women were still using uncomfortable and unsanitary cloth pads and rags during their period.

One day she was contacted by a company that expressed an interest in marketing her belt for sanitary napkins. When they found out she was black, their interest dropped.

As the case of Mary Beatrice Davidson Kenner shows, the creativity, ingenuity, and achievements of Black women have long been overlooked – or just flat out erased.Her invention and contribution to women’s health and hygiene is extraordinary. Her invention inspired the use of menstrual hygiene essentials that are used by women all over the world. However, today many women struggle with being able to afford basic menstrual hygiene essentials during their monthly cycle.

This is why Stars That Shine is taking on period poverty in our community. Our organization started the Girls United Period Project, an effort to end period poverty for young women in our community. Our efforts don’t stop there, we aim to be apart of change for Girls and young women. Mary Beatrice Davidson Kenner is an inspiration to our organization and to the girls in our programs. We hope to be one of many to bring light and truth her legacy.

Learn more about the Girls Inited Period Project:https://www.stslg2success.com/girls-united-period