At the February School Committee meeting, six middle school girls asked New Bedford’s mayor, superintendent, and school committee to consider the issue of menstrual equity in New Bedford Public Schools. The girls are members of the YWCA Girls Exclusive afterschool program and their self-named initiative, Justice Flow, is a project designed to help students feel confident, safe, and dignified while managing their daily sanitation needs at school. Period Poverty is an issue that affects girls, transgender, and non-binary students nationwide and can deny students their right to an equal education, as 1 in 5 girls are reported to stay home while on their monthly cycle. The girls of Justice Flow explain how it’s often easier to just stay home than be at school while having their period. Periods can be a major disruption to students’ ability to achieve academically, and we believe that no one should have to miss school, risk their health, or compromise their dignity because of menstruation. Grassroots activism around the United States has prompted cities like Cambridge and Providence and states like New York, California, and Illinois to pass pro-menstrual equity policies and legislation. YWCA Southeastern Massachusetts is proud to support Justice Flow’s call for free, universal access to menstrual hygiene products in all schools (elementary schools included!) in New Bedford and across our state. With your support, the City of New Bedford can be at the forefront of the growing menstrual equity movement in the United States.
Please click on the links below for more articles on Period Poverty.