CHICAGO – Today, the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) joined its partner Support the Girls, Ald. Toni Foulkes (16th) and community volunteers to prepare packages of tampons and sanitary napkins for women and girls as part of a new citywide effort to raise awareness of menstrual equity. Feminine hygiene kits were prepared at the Believe in Thine Heart Ministries (BITHM) food pantry and will be available to girls and women at designated sites across the city.
CDPH’s partnership with Support the Girls builds on efforts by the Department to remove financial barriers to feminine hygiene products for girls and women Citywide. Since October 2016, CDPH and Support the Girls have donated 50,000 tampons and sanitary napkins and 600 bras to 7 Chicago Public Schools and 5 community organizations, located in underserved areas, including the food pantry at BITHM in Englewood.
“Periods should only stop sentences,” said CDPH Commissioner Julie Morita. “No woman should ever have to miss school or a meal because she can’t afford feminine hygiene products and we’re committed to ensuring women and girls in Chicago have access to the resources they need to thrive.”
The City of Chicago joins municipalities across the country in addressing menstrual equity, because the cost of feminine hygiene products can serve as a significant barrier for girls and women in low-income households. Across the country, a lack of monthly feminine hygiene products has been shown to incite consequences for young women like school absenteeism, social stigma, and potentially shoplifting criminal records.
"Menstrual products can be some of the most challenging items for homeless women to obtain,” said Dana Marlowe, Founder of Support the Girls. “Dignity is dignity and denying them access strips them of a basic human right- the right to menstrual equity.”
This collaboration is part of a larger movement for menstrual equity, following the repeal of the tax on tampons and sanitary napkins in Chicago in March 2016, and the state’s repeal in April 2016. Both tax repeals took effect in January 2017. Improving menstrual equity for girls and women also underscores a central tenet of the City’s guiding health plan, Healthy Chicago 2.0, which seeks to address health equity across all communities.
This project is ongoing and welcomes donations. For more information on donating, contact Chicago Support the Girls Volunteer Lead: Kristin Nehls at firstname.lastname@example.org