Public hearing held for ‘Period Poverty Act of 2021’

From left: Derrick Santos, Principal; Paul Tibudan, Counselor; Peggy Denney, Immediate Past President NAWIC Ch. 381 Guam, Marcela Takai, Counselor; Danica Bacani, School Nurse; Silvio Quinene, Vice Principal; and Joanne Messier, President-Elect NAWIC Ch. 381 Guam, gather at Inarajan Middle School for NAWIC’s Project Sottera donation of menstrual products to the school on Wednesday, April 7, 2021. (BWA photo)

A bill addressing period poverty had its public hearing at the legislature Tuesday afternoon.

Bill 97, or the “Period Poverty Act of 2021,” will provide menstrual hygiene products for female students in public school grades five through 12, in the nursing or counselor’s offices, at no charge to the students.

According to the measure, period poverty is a systemic global problem that impacts millions of women around the world.

The lack of access of menstruating individuals to basic feminine hygiene products, such as tampons and sanitary napkins, during their monthly menstrual cycle hampers their ability to participate in basic activities including regular attendance in school and participation in sports

Guam Youth Congress Representative Stephanie Lorenzo offered positive testimony about the measure.

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“Access to menstrual products is a right. Feeling clean, confident during one’s period is a necessity. And using unhygienic alternatives, they are vulnerable to harmful physical and mental outcomes,” she said.

Bureau of Women’s Affairs Director Jayne Flores also spoke about Project Sottera, the collaborative effort between the Bureau of Women’s Affairs and the non-profit organization Island Girl Power to eliminate period poverty on Guam.