Tuesday, September 22, 2020
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Cover Story

Celebrating Womanhood: Zeba Khan

By Petrina D'Souza, 27 Mar, 2020
  • Celebrating Womanhood: Zeba Khan

Founder of PERIOD. at UBC

What does being a woman mean to you?

Being a woman means that I am strong, worthy and capable, but it also means that I have to work hard to prove that. When I think of the word ‘woman’ I think of people who are courageous and independent, and wouldn’t let anything get in the way of their dreams. My definition of woman includes transgender, two spirit and intersex women.

 

What has been your biggest achievement, personally and professionally, as a woman?

I believe my biggest achievement so far has been my contribution to promote menstrual equity. I founded an organization called PERIOD at University of British Columbia (UBC) in 2016, a local chapter of PERIOD INC. and we started out with providing a handful of period products to homeless shelters. ‘Menstrual Equity’ was still a new concept, and it was challenging to garner support for this cause. I met some dedicated and passionate people who helped me multiply our impact, as well grow as a leader. Since then, we have been supporting several food banks, shelters, organizing pop-up shops in the Downtown Eastside and have provided 20,000+ free period products. We organized the first conference on menstrual equity in Canada, bringing together hundreds of people to discuss period poverty.

Tell me about a milestone that defines your journey.

I am the first woman in my family to travel halfway across the world and pursue a bachelor’s degree. I grew up in Dhaka, Bangladesh, and decided to move to Vancouver in September 2015. I was 18 years old, and I didn’t realize the gravity of my decision until I had reached Vancouver. Leaving the comfort of my home and moving to a new country has been the bravest, and the biggest achievement of my life so far. It has taught me to constantly push my boundaries, no matter how uncomfortable and scary it is.

What project are you working on right now?

We are currently working with the student union at UBC to provide free period products in all the bathrooms. We will be launching a pilot project and place some period products in some of the buildings at UBC. Our goal is to be able to take successful policy action, that would allow the university to provide free period products on campus.

What’s your advice for women who wish to follow your path?

Be brave enough to push boundaries. Surround yourself with people who uplift you and support you in achieving those dreams. Make a plan to achieve that dream, and set realistic goals.

Brought To You By: Teja Foods

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