WASHINGTON–(BUSINESS WIRE)– Always, the leader in global menstrual care, and International Paper, the leading global supplier of renewable fiber-based products, are partnering to drive systemic solutions to help #EndPeriodPoverty. In the lead up to Menstrual Hygiene Day, on May 28, they organized an event in Washington D.C. to support Congresswoman Grace Meng’s Menstrual Equity for All Act. This bill would ensure that all young people have access to free period products at school, so that no one would have to miss out because of their period.
Lack of access to period protection is often known as period poverty – and it affects people all around the world, even in the most economically developed countries. Here in the U.S., nearly 1 in 5 girls have missed school because they didn’t have access to period products1.
Since the launch of Always’ #EndPeriodPoverty program in 2018, Always has donated over 160 million period products to people in need around the world, including more than 50 million in the U.S., in partnership with organizations like Feeding America®, the nation’s largest domestic hunger-relief organization. While donations can help people stay in school and improve confidence, donations alone cannot resolve period poverty as poverty itself is a systemic issue.
The stigma surrounding periods can also make matters worse, preventing those affected from voicing their needs, and preventing potential solutions from being widely discussed and implemented. While several U.S. states have increased action to help #EndPeriodPoverty, 56% of society believe they should be doing more to provide free products to those who need them2. If passed, Congresswoman Grace Meng’s Menstrual Equity for All Act would help do just that across the U.S.
“Millions of people across our nation suffer from a lack of access to period products and are forced to forego educational or employment opportunities because of it,” said Congresswoman Grace Meng (D-NY). “As we celebrate Menstrual Hygiene Day on May 28th, I urge everyone, including legislators, to support my Menstrual Equity for All Act. It is the first whole-of-government approach to address this issue and would help end the problem of period poverty.”
To further help raise awareness around the prevalence of period poverty across the country and motivate society at large to support the bill, Always is also partnering with actress and activist Jameela Jamil, who spoke at the event in Washington D.C. on the issue – watch here.
“I was shocked to learn approximately 3.5 million girls have missed school here in the U.S. due to a lack of access to period products3. That is far too many. When people don’t have access to period products, not only do they not feel protected, but it also puts their confidence, dignity, and education at risk,” said Jameela Jamil. “I am very proud to partner with Always and support their mission to help #EndPeriodPoverty. I encourage everyone to join us in supporting the Menstrual Equity for All Act to help keep young people in school.” To help, you can contact your elected officials here and ask them to show their support for the Act.
“Always has been championing young people’s confidence for more than 35 years, through puberty & confidence education, providing access to period products and driving societal change,” said Melissa Suk, Vice President of North America Feminine Care at Procter & Gamble. “When I entered puberty, I remember my own confidence shaken as I was unsure of what was going on in my body – wondering what products to use and feeling too embarrassed to even talk about it.
Today, as a mother of a 6-year-old daughter, I am motivated to do more so she can enter puberty feeling supported and educated. To make this change for the next generation, collaboration and alliances with individuals and organizations who share the same mission will play a critical role in helping solve period poverty. We are thrilled to support Congresswoman Grace Meng’s bill and continue our partnership with International Paper and Feeding America as part of our ongoing commitment to bring about change so that lack of period protection doesn’t stand in the way of education and confidence ever again.”
To help address the ongoing need for period products, Always and International Paper – alongside congressional staff and Feeding America – hosted an event in Washington D.C. on May 12 to discuss period poverty, while packing 500 kits with period products to be given to the local community. Always, with the support of Jameela Jamil, will also be donating an additional 1 million pads to the Feeding America network of food banks. In addition, International Paper will hold more than 45 packing events throughout the year at its facilities across the globe.
To find out more, visit always.com/en-us/about-us/end-period-poverty.
1 1000 U.S. females, 16-24 y.o., Research Now ‘17
2 4000 U.S. respondents, One Poll ‘21
31000 U.S. females, 16-24 y.o., Research Now ’17 & U.S. 2016 Census