Menstrual Equity Initiative through She Votes Illinois

By Saundretta James

Menstrual Equity Initiative

Imagine having little to no access to menstrual products when it’s time to take care of personal health. This is still a major issue globally, as well as in IL. As well, it still remains an issue that natural menstruation is treated as a taboo. Menstruators are discriminated against in the form of bullying and people using terms that are inappropriate to refer to something so natural to humanity. Often, menstruators feel ashamed during this stage of life. Also, there are stigmas against people whose gender identities are not perceived to experience menstruation. There are assumptions about who can and cannot menstruate creating shame around this natural life process. 

She Votes Illinois has taken the initiative to bring forth menstrual products legislation in IL. “She Votes Illinois is committed to educating and creating awareness about menstrual equity while also garnering support for legislation that helps to end period poverty in Illinois. Some of the most impacted groups that face period poverty are students, homeless people, and individuals who are incarcerated.” (1) These six bills can be accessed here: 

  1. Stock Bathrooms in Schools (HB4178)
  2. State Prisons (HB4218)
  3. State Parks (HB4148)
  4. Interstate Highway Rest Areas (HB4183)
  5. Labeling Ingredients (HB4942)
  6. Tax Charitable Donations (HB4266)

What is needed is the opportunity for all menstruators regardless of race, socioeconomic status, gender, sex, life status to have access to menstrual products in various areas during their journey allowing them the dignity human beings deserve. One can help by looking at the bottom of this post in the “Call to Action,” section. Also, visit this toolkit, set-up by “She Votes Illinois,” Menstrual Equity In IL. This toolkit will educate, provide calls to action, advocate with resources provided for menstruators in Illinois. 

 Sustainable Development Goals

The Sustainable Development Goal 5: “Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls,” is essential. This goal addresses equality for all genders and includes all menstruators, which can impact women, nonbinary people, and transgender men. Passing the bills to allow for more equality for all genders is necessary to reach this sustainable development goal. Imagine a world where all menstruators are free of shame. Instead, they can walk with the dignity they deserve in this World. 

CALL TO ACTIONS

  1. Open the toolkit for Menstrual Equity in IL get educated and follow the calls to action outlined. 
  2. Call/email your legislator.
  3. Share this blog to get the bills passed into legislation.
  4. Share your period story.
  5. Register to vote.
  6. Spread awareness on your social media.
  7. Join the She Votes IL Coalition and see what you/your organization can do to contribute.

RESOURCES

Menstrual Equity Toolkit: https://www.shevotesil.org/current-initiatives.html

REFERENCES

  • https://www.shevotesil.org/current-initiatives.html

-Saundretta James, Director of Advocacy, UNA Chicago