It's Time for Menstrual Equity for All

lucia-48UaeIMNAA4-unsplash.jpg

By Brianna Elgart

Prior to Halloween and Thanksgiving there is an even more important day coming up: National Period Day. The world’s first ever #NationalPeriodDay will take place on October 19th; it will be an inclusive rally where everyone is welcome across the country to help elevate the issue of period poverty and demand that period products be made more accessible for all in public places.

In addition to the #NationalPeriodDay movement, there is a huge push by Platform and other partner organizations advocating for the Menstrual Equity For All Act of 2019, which was first introduced by Congresswoman Grace Meng back in March. The Menstrual Equity For All Act of 2019 will help make menstrual hygiene products more accessible and affordable, especially in communities that face disproportionate access to reproductive health care services and products. This act would allow states to use federal grant funding to provide students with complimentary menstrual products in schools, and Medicaid would cover the cost of menstrual products for its recipients. Furthermore, the Act would require many private employers to provide their workers with free menstrual hygiene products. 

The Menstrual Equity For All Act would allow women the proper access to hygienic care that they deserve. Disproportionate access to women’s menstrual prod is just another barrier for low-income and homeless women as well as those without access to medical care. To give some perspective, it’s 2019 and yet: 

  • 35 US States still have a sales tax on period products, considering them “non-essential items”

  • 1 in 4 women struggle to afford period products due to a lack of income

  • 46% of low-income women choose between a meal and period products

  • 42% of women experience period shaming 

  • 1 in 5 girls will leave or miss school due to a lack of access to menstrual hygiene products 

  • 51% of men believe women should not discuss menstruation while at work

  • 32-40% of women report that their period pain was so unbearable, they had to miss school or work

  • It costs people in the U.S. approximately $2 billion to purchase menstrual products 

The National Period Day movement and Menstrual Equity For All Act are emerging at an extremely crucial time. As we have seen women’s reproductive health care rights severely threatened and under attack, especially in state legislatures across the country, these initiatives are giving women back power over their bodies.

As an organization that strives everyday to uplift women by ensuring their health, safety, and security, JWI supports the message #NationalPeriodDay is spreading. When women have access to reproductive health care services and necessities, they are able to have control over their bodies and make personal decisions about their well-being and futures. The Menstrual Equity For All Act of 2019 will give women the proper care they need to continue this fight, advocate, and be their best selves. 

To learn more about the Menstrual Equity For All Act, check out Platform’s policy pack.