UTAH (ABC4) – The Policy Project will be hosting a series of “Utah Period Project Student Ambassador” events for teens from over 60 high schools and middle schools to empower and teach them about the ability to affect change in state legislation, with the issue of “period poverty” becoming increasingly important to Utah’s youth.
The events are a part of their new campaign, the “Utah Period Project,” an effort to get period products into every public and charter school throughout the state.
The founder of the Policy Project, Emily Bell McCormick, states, “We have had so much feedback from students in our state about the need for period products in schools.” McCormick hopes to pass the bill, “Period Products in Schools,” sponsored by Representative Karianne Lisonbee and Senator Ann Millner.
McCormick emphasizes that the campaign isn’t just about getting period products into schools, but about “giving these girls a chance to find their voice.” She adds, “It’s about teaching girls in our state about leadership, about how government works and about how to have your voice heard.”
According to a press release from the Policy Project, 68 percent of girls have missed school due to a lack of access to period products, and another one in five teens may not be able to afford these products altogether, drawing significant attention from legislators to the issue of “period poverty.”
The press release also reports that although the average child starts their period at age 12 (around 6th grade), 10 to 15 percent of girls begin at age 7 (around 1st or 2nd grade). The age of onset for girls has been trending younger, and for girls that experience poverty and stress, the likelihood of starting a period at a younger age is much greater.
The release from the Policy Project states that “period products are as necessary as toilet paper,” a point that should encourage prevention of the issues that arise from a lack of access, which include not only disruptions in education, but lowered confidence as well.
Here are the goals that the Utah Period Project Student Ambassador Program has set out to achieve:
- Empower girls by helping them drive effort to get period products in public schools.
- Engage girls in the legislative process by involving them in a project that impacts them directly.
- Teach girls how to articulate and discuss issues with people in authority.
Community Champion for the Utah Period Project has said, “Girls are anxious for a chance to be involved.”
This is not the first time that the Policy Project has been involved on the issue, as they helped to bring forth legislation to end the “tampon tax” in 2019, a sales tax on menstrual products that was not similarly held on other medical products. The bill, which was an overarching tax reform bill, passed and was put into effect in January 2020, but has since been overturned as a result of public outcry, making menstrual products once again incur sales tax in Utah.
Here are the events held by the Policy Project that will cover these issues:
- Salt Lake City: Tuesday, Jan. 18 from 7 – 9 p.m. (Noir Event Center, 602 E 500 S Suite P-103, Salt Lake City, UT 84102)
- Logan: Monday, Jan. 24 from 7 – 8:30 p.m. (David B. Haight Center, 555 N. Champ Drive, Logan, UT 84321)
- St. George: Tuesday, Feb. 1 from 7 – 8:30 p.m. (Dixie Convention Center, 1835 Convention Center Drive, St. George, UT 84790)
Student ambassadors for the cause will be asked to set up an appointment with a school administrator to discuss period poverty and the bill to put products in schools, hang a poster from the event (with school’s permission) in their school, and share about the issues on social media.
To learn more, click here.