Women’s History Month: Women Making (Legislative) History Today
Each spring, Women’s History Month invites us to commemorate milestone achievements of women around the world – and to celebrate those making history today.
At Days for Girls, we’re especially excited to celebrate global policymakers paving the way for menstrual equity, reducing period poverty and advocating for menstruator rights worldwide – like those spotlighted below! From Scotland to Kenya, these inspiring leaders are altering the course of history through groundbreaking legislation and advocacy that uplifts women, girls and all people with periods.
Their efforts serve as a beacon of hope in the menstrual movement, and represent a much-needed paradigm shift that every leader should aspire to. We can’t wait to see the rest of the world follow suit.
Grace Meng (United States)
Grace Meng, a lawyer and Democratic member of the U.S. House of Representatives from the New York City borough of Queens, introduced the Menstrual Equity for All Act in March 2019. This legislation would ensure that incarcerated and homeless women have access to menstrual products and would allow schools to use federal funds for period products. If the bill is passed, Medicaid would also have to cover the cost of menstrual products.
Monica Lennon (Scotland)
Scotland became the first country in the world to legislate that access to period products is a right, following a four-year campaign backed by a wide coalition of trade unions, women’s groups, and charities, led by Monica Lennon, a member of the Scottish Parliament. Lennon has received messages from around the world expressing interest in the law. “Scotland has provided a blueprint and shown how it can be done,” she said. “With determination from lawmakers and activists in other countries, there’s no reason why other countries can’t follow.”
The Honorable Soipan Tuya (Kenya)
The Honorable Soipan Tuya is Narok County’s Women Representative and an advocate for the high court of Kenya. From the start of her political career, Hon. Soipan has prioritized ensuring that women and girls have equal opportunity for, and access to education, and the resources needed to excel. A passionate advocate for gender equity in underserved communities, she is openly committed to ending Female Genital Cutting/Mutilation in her county (which has one of the highest FGM rates in the world) and removing period poverty barriers for menstruators in underserved communities – a goal that she has partnered with Days for Girls to achieve!
The First Lady Of Malawi, Monica Chakwera (Malawi)
Jacinda Ardern (New Zealand)
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern recently announced that all New Zealand schools will have free access to sanitary products, an initiative aimed at stamping out period poverty. “Providing free period products at school is one way the government can directly address poverty, help increase school attendance, and make a positive impact on children's well-being,” Ardern said in a statement. The youngest female prime minister when she was elected in 2017, Ardern has become an icon and a champion for women's rights.
**Special thanks to guest blogger Elizabeth Titus for contributing to this article