Here's Hannah's story, the story of a firefighter and her Ruby Cup.
She reached out to us a couple of days ago with this lovely message and we immediately took this opportunity to interview her.
Firefighting has historically been a predominantly male profession throughout the world. Though many departments started hiring women decades ago, some still have only one woman firefighter and some have none. In the US only about 4 percent of firefighters are women, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.
So it's very rare to hear the voice of a female firefighter and even more rare if it is talking about periods.
We hope that sharing her story will inspire and empower other women to take this path.
How did you hear about Ruby Cup?
I saw a video about Ruby Cup and your work and was impressed. I had heard about cups before but I never even thought about actually trying them.
When I saw that video, I thought “if those kids can do it, I can do it too!“. And I liked the donation thing so much I didn‘t even look into other cups. I ordered one soon after that and tried it on the next occasion. In the meantime, I watched all the videos I could find on how to use it to be prepared. I think it was in 2016.
How does having a Ruby Cup improve your lifestyle? You told us you’re a firefighter. Please explain how having a Ruby Cup improves your working life while you are on your period.
When I‘m on duty, I don’t have planned breaks and it can easily happen that I‘m away from the station for several hours at a time. Not a nice thing when you have to worry about a tampon bleeding through. With the Ruby Cup, it just doesn't matter. I also don't have to worry about leaking for other reasons anymore, like crawling/climbing/lifting heavy things. I don't have to be careful at all.
Which is the biggest challenge you have as a woman and firefighter?
There are still men who believe that women are not suited for the job. When you start that job as a woman, you have to work hard enough to get better than at least some of the men you are working with.
Once you have built a good reputation over the years, you usually don‘t have to worry about that anymore and you are part of the “brotherhood“. However, you have to keep up with training just like everyone else - our lives depend on each other. And working in a field with mostly male colleagues isn’t the right thing for every woman, it has to fit your character.
Do you feel your work environment is sensitive enough to your period needs?
There are zero accommodations made for female firefighters, and I think that’s exactly how it should be in that field.
There are no distinctions made between male and female firefighters, so nobody cares about “period needs“. If I would want anybody to be sensitive towards that, I would get laughed at (and rightfully so). Fire doesn’t care about periods and neither do the people who need us to help them. That’s also a reason why the tests you have to pass to become a firefighter are the same for men and women.
Tell us about a time where you were relieved that you had a Ruby Cup / or a special working moment while wearing a Ruby Cup
Every single call that is long and/or requires hard work, and whenever we have multiple calls in a row.
What's one of your proudest moments/nicest stories you have as a firefighter?
There are many nice stories - I work both as a firefighter and as a medic and every part of the job has its own ones. As a firefighter, you have a connection to your colleagues you hardly find elsewhere. When we work together to fight a fire or to rescue people, it fills me with pride to be a part of it.
I also love the smile on kids’ faces when we wave at them when we drive by and how they proudly wave back. In EMS, I try to be the best part of someone's worst day.
We can really make a difference and they rely on us. In short (and that goes for both fire and EMS), it‘s an incredible feeling to have a job where parents hand you their little kids without knowing you at all. It’s a great responsibility.
People call us for help and we have to fix it, because we can’t call anybody else.
What do you love most about your Ruby Cup?
If I have to name a single thing: I love that it makes me completely forget my period as I can do everything exactly like I would on other days and I don’t feel it at all. But there are many other things that I like: not having to carry tampons with me, a good conscience because I don’t produce unnecessary waste, saving money, not worrying about chemicals or reactions...