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End Period Stigma and Poverty

Updated: Aug 20, 2021

SLO County Commission on the Status of Women will host a panel discussion focused on the issue of period poverty, period equity, and ending the stigma surrounding menstruation. Join us on zoom or Facebook Live on Wednesday, August 18, from 5:30-6:00pm.

Plus - save the date for our countywide period product drive on August 27, from 2pm-6pm, with drop offs available at the Arroyo Grande library, SLO library, Atascadero library and The Paso Robles Library. Period poverty is commonly defined as the inability to afford period products due to lack of access or financial resources. Not having affordable access to the supplies stigmatizes the girls, women and nonbinary and transgender people who menstruate.

According to the 2019 Alliance for Period Supplies report, 1 in 4 women in the United States struggles to purchase period products due to lack of income, and 1 in 5 low-income women reports missing work, school or similar commitments due to lack of access to period supplies. A 2019 Harris Interactive poll of 2,000 U.S. teens aged 13 to 19 found that 84% have either missed class time or know someone who missed class time because they did not have access to period products, 20% have struggled to afford period products or were not able to purchase them at all, and 61% have worn a tampon or pad for more than 4 hours because they did not have enough access to period products, which puts them at risk of infection and toxic shock syndrome. Additionally, pads and tampons can't be purchased with food stamps, Medicaid, or health insurance spending accounts.

The panelists, each representing different dimensions of the menstrual policy, advocacy and education debate, will address different challenges in achieving period equity, and promote actionable solutions to this issue. We will discuss the role of policy and legislation, including Menstrual Equity for All Act of 2021, menstrual hygiene plight of unhoused women, and obstacles teenagers face when it comes to period dignity and equity.

Join us for this important conversation and learn how you can contribute to solving the issue of period poverty, while building a more equitable and just world free of stigma.


CRISTINA GARCIA, Assemblymember, AD 58 Cristina Garcia has been called a “Force of Nature,” first as a dynamic community organizer and civic activist and now as a new generation of leader in the California State Legislature. Reflective of the cultural change as a state and the new realities of a diverse population of color, Cristina Garcia has embraced her own communities with a message of hope and inclusion. She has demanded accountability in man-made environmental disasters like Exide and has pushed to make all levels of government more transparent and accountable to voters. In Sacramento, she crashed the good old boys network and is leading the way to empower women to take their seat at the table. She has insisted on parity in the tax code by introducing a bill to repeal the sales tax on menstrual products and led the charge to update the definition of rape in light of Brock Turner’s verdict, starting a national dialogue on both issues. She is on a constant mission to educate, empower and engage whether that is for constituents of the 58th Assembly District, for women or for disadvantaged communities. She fights for change, with a passion to improve the lives of working people and to brighten the path to the future for our next generation. As a vibrant new leader of promise, Cristina Garcia hasn't forgotten where she came from, but with purpose, she also knows where California should be going.

WENDY LEWIS, President and CEO, El Camino Homeless Organization Wendy grew up in Lompoc and moved to SLO County in 1986 to attend Cal Poly. During her time at Cal Poly, she met her husband Joe Lewis. They moved from SLO to Atascadero in 1998 where they raised their sons Jacob and Jeremy. Wendy worked at the Food Bank Coalition for 10 years and was instrumental in increasing access to nutritious food to people facing hunger in SLO County. During her 10-year tenure at the Food Bank, Wendy held many positions, and in her last role as Chief Operations Officer she led the acquisition of land and building projects of their new 20,000 square foot headquarters. In 2018, Wendy joined the El Camino Homeless Organization's leadership team as the President and CEO. In her three years with ECHO she has helped expand the organization's reach and programs, growing ECHO from 50 beds at one facility to 140 at three facilities (including ECHO Paso Robles), increasing staff from 6 to 20, and working with the community to add 10 programs which include mental support, financial literacy, job placement, and more.

EMMA FAY, Youth Programs Coordinator, CAPSLO Emma is the Teen Wellness Coordinator for the Community Action Partnership of San Luis Obispo County (CAPSLO). She is responsible for the implementation of multiple grants serving young people ages 13-19 with sex education, health coaching, and development opportunities, like the Teen Monologues theater project. She is committed to co-creating meaningful youth-adult partnerships and safe and supportive learning environments. Emma is also a California Health Education Framework trainer for local educators.

The panel will be moderated by Andrea Chmelik, the SLO County Commission on the Status of Women Chair.

Zoom login: Topic: End Period Stigma and Poverty Time: Aug 18, 2021 05:30 PM Pacific Time (US and Canada) Join Zoom Meeting Meeting ID: 846 8946 2207 Passcode: 049876 One tap mobile +16699009128,,84689462207#,,,,*049876# US (San Jose) +13462487799,,84689462207#,,,,*049876# US (Houston) Dial by your location +1 669 900 9128 US (San Jose) +1 346 248 7799 US (Houston) +1 253 215 8782 US (Tacoma) +1 312 626 6799 US (Chicago) +1 646 558 8656 US (New York) +1 301 715 8592 US (Washington DC) Meeting ID: 846 8946 2207 Passcode: 049876 Find your local number:

We look forward to seeing you there and thank you for being involved in the community!

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