Platform is a political training and lobbying organization dedicated to ensuring the voices of all who identify as young women, non-conforming, non-binary, and femme folx are heard in the rooms where decisions are made. In amplifying our voices, we will hold lawmakers accountable to legislative progress.
Note from our partners:
Last summer at our national Convention, young women from across the country- of different races, identities, and backgrounds- came together at our reproductive justice policy table and began a conversation on menstrual equity and wanting to take action on it. It began an effort to look at policy, we as a small organization, could try to make an impact on and then we found Congresswoman Meng’s legislation.
When we were reading the original legislation, we noticed it wasn’t clear if the menstrual products would be available to everyone who menstruates or just cis-women. While legislation that only applies to cis individuals is violent everywhere, we understood the greater implications for transgender individuals in prison. We named these concerns in a meeting with the Congresswomen's office and the new language clarifies that it applies to all who menstruate. Because of Congresswoman Meng's approach, it is a single piece of legislation that accounts for individuals experiences at the intersections of their identities and lives.
Whether it's menstruators who can't go to school because they can't afford the hygiene products, women who make up two-thirds of the low-wage workforce using the abysmal $7.25 they make an hour to purchase menstrual products, or individuals in prison who have to use the little pay they have from prison slave labor for basic care, it's an issue that demands we look at how underserved and disenfranchised communities are punished for being women and transgender, particularly women of color as well as women in low-wage jobs.
When we were working with Rights4Girls on our Justice Reform policy pack, the lack of menstrual health care in prison came up again and again. One interview we cited included a young women talking about how she couldn't visit her mom in prison because the money she saved had to be used for her mom to buy menstrual products. We know as a small organization we can only make such an impact in the justice reform conversation, but believe this is one small step we can take to address the experiences of women who are incarcerated and be a part of a larger dialogue and effort to end mass incarceration. It's lofty, I know. I also understand it's a party for a serious cause- that isn't lost on us. But in our effort to appeal to young people, we are trying to pull away the stuffy barriers to engage in the political process.
Finally, we know there are many different pieces of legislation we could have dove in on, but we also wanted to rally behind a leader we believed in- one of the few Asian American women in Congress and a leader who has never shied from calling out the sexism and racism she has experienced in Congress.
Join De Lune and Platform on Saturday, May 4 at 8:00 pm at The Eaton DC for Period Party, a night of advocacy and fun to support the Menstrual Equity for All Act of 2019.