Maya Rayle

Homebase: Portland, Oregon

Surprising fact: I can ride a unicycle!

Interests: Protecting the wildness of our planet is incredibly important to me. I also am passionate about women’s rights. And I love running.

Role model: One of the strongest women I have ever met is Evi Nemeth, a 70 some year old who sailed all over the world by herself. She also wrote a computer science textbook, taught math and physics, and lived in Boulder. She was a close friend and like a grandmother who never cared what anyone thought about her.

Menstruation revelation: My freshman year of high school I was severely iron deficient, which makes it so that blood cannot carry oxygen. Therefore someone who is iron deficient reaches their anaerobic threshold (where your muscles are no longer using oxygen since they are working too hard) much sooner than normal. Because of this, I turned pale, started weaving, and
collapsed in the state cross country meet 300 meters from the finish of the race. I didn’t start my period until three months later when my iron was finally high enough. I was 15.

Menstruation is closely connected to many parts of a body’s wellness. It’s incredible how few people know about iron deficiency, which disproportionately affects women because they lose blood every month. I experienced firsthand how the taboos around menstruation make issues such as iron deficiency uncommon to hear about, despite that almost 80% of women are iron deficient to some degree. I learned that the same stigma surrounding menstruation also forces women to use a paper bag or wads of toilet paper because she cannot get a pad or tampon. I work with Period because no one should have to go through painful humiliation simply because society refuses to open the conversation about menstruation to address her needs.