Access to menstrual products is a dignity and equity issue, but every day people across the United States are unable to access the menstrual products they need. Local, state, and federal government policies cause or exacerbate inequitable access by imposing sales taxes on menstrual products, refusing to provide products in prisons and jails, exempting menstrual products from public health benefits programs, and not making products uniformly available in public schools and homeless shelters.
This toolkit is a companion piece to our briefing paper, which provides an overview of the state of menstrual equity in the United States. The toolkit provides advocates with key arguments and materials for advancing menstrual equity through legislation. It includes sample legislative and policy language; talking points; responses to common arguments; a primer on the “tampon tax;” a template for a legislative letter; model op-eds and links to other articles; tips for managing social media and “viral moments;” and an interview with an on-the-ground advocate.
We’ve focused on a few specific areas that have gained the most traction in recent years, namely, ending the “tampon tax” and ensuring access to menstrual products in public schools, government-funded homeless shelters, and correctional institutions. But we urge advocates to be creative in their application of this toolkit, and to work with local leaders to determine what other agencies and budgets can be tapped to ensure access for all (think public transportation hubs, libraries, clinics and food pantries, for example).