Statement in support of Menstrual Equity for All Act of 2019 introduced by Representative Grace Meng (D-NY) on March 26, 2019.
Thank you, Representative Meng, and thank you to everyone here – it’s wonderful to be surrounded by so many women in this movement who are tackling the issue of menstrual equity from different angles.
It’s what I appreciate about this bill – it’s not addressing menstrual equity in schools alone or prisons alone or for homeless populations alone. It looks at this issue as it should be addressed – holistically and for all.
And that’s exactly how we work with the nearly 10,000 families we serve each year in this region – holistically. We provide basic needs to economically vulnerable families and that includes period products, toilet paper, diapers, formula, cleaning supplies, and personal hygiene items.
We pair these tangible items with case management and medical care, home visits and reentry services, and much more through a network of social service partners.
Everyday we see the struggles of families and women faced with impossible questions around providing for themselves and their families. We call it the impossible math.
An economic policy institute study recently put the cost of raising two children in the metro region at $106,000 per year. Nearly 80% of our family make less than $20,000 a year.
On the high end that’s $1,666 dollars a month for rent, transportation, food, childcare, utilities, and all the rest of life.
The women and men we serve must do impossible math every day.
Do I buy period products or food?
How long can I keep my baby in this last diaper?
How can I go to school when I have my period and no access to pads or tampons?
Is it warm enough out that we can live if the heat gets cut off?
We work to lessen the impossible math. What we know is that when a social worker goes to visit an uninsured mom experiencing postpartum depression for a home visit and she comes bearing period products and formula and diapers that door opens and more importantly that woman feels seen.
She feels known and she connects in a different way to the social worker and the services available. We know this reality is true across our programs. These items are a reason for families to connect to the social safety net.
Menstrual equity is about so much more than the physical item – and this bill is as well. This is an enormous step toward ensuring that all who need it have the resources and access to manage their periods in a dignified and healthy way – and those in need are seen.
We’re proud to support this bill and be part of the movement that will ensure all families have what they need to thrive. Thank you.