Advocates for Menstrual Equity Shift Attention to Schools

Apr 8, 2019

Women across Virginia are about to get a tax break on feminine hygiene products.

Senator Jennifer Boysko is a Democrat from Herndon who has been working for years to eliminate the sales tax on feminine hygiene products. This year she was able to work with Republicans to craft a compromise — reducing the sales tax on these products.

It’s part of an ongoing suite of policy objectives advocates call menstrual equity. “As we have women in leadership positions, we find that we are bringing these kinds of things up," Boysko says. "This is important. I’ve been around the country talking about this.”

Last year it was ensuring jails and prisons made these products available at no cost on demand. This year it was the sales tax cut. Next year it’ll be the schools.

Credit (AP Photo/Mike Stewart)

“We need to make sure that menstrual supplies are as accessible in schools as technology or books,” says  Holly Seibold.

Seibold founded a group known as Bringing Resources to Aid Women’s Shelters. “My organization BRAWS has been distributing pads and tampons to schools with high truancy rates for over the last four years and we have witnessed firsthand the positive impact that access has had on the students we serve.”

Seibold says the next objective is to make sure pads and tampons are available in school restrooms across Virginia, not in the school nurse’s office.

This report, provided by Virginia Public Radio, was made possible with support from the Virginia Education Association.