Call Your School Nurse: State DOE Approves Distribution of $1M For Menstrual Products

On Thursday, August 22nd, the State Board of Education approved the Department of Education’s proposal for distributing the $1M budget expenditure authorized by the legislature in the 2019 Session!

According to Board Documents, 

these grant funds were provided in the Georgia Department of Education Agency budget as a line item for fiscal year 2020 to provide feminine hygiene products to low-income students.”  

To us, that one sentence is the culmination of two years of advocacy work and is just the beginning of what is needed!

A glance at the chart showing the Grant Allocations quickly reveals that allocated amounts seem low, given that some systems received as little as $50.00.  Nevertheless, Georgia is a national menstrual equity leader, by allocating any money at all towards this need.  

It is now a role of the Georgia STOMP coalition to get the message to as many school nurses as possible. They need to know that this money exists and they should contact their Superintendent to find out how it will be allocated in their district!

According to Board documents, again, “An end of year survey will be conducted” to ensure satisfactory performance and “accounting codes for this budget item will be tracked in GAORS.”  The performance measurements will be “based on distribution of products and percentage of product remaining at the end of the school year.”

If the information we have collected is correct, that amount should be NONE if school nurses actually know this money exists!

Call your local school nurse today and let them know to ask their Superintendent for the money!

 

Women and Girls’ Policy Stakeholder Roundtable

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The Women and Girls’ Policy Stakeholder Roundtable is an Atlanta gathering committed to improving the lives of women and girls in Georgia. It is hosted twice a year by the YWCA of Greater ATL. Numerous organizations reflect together on the “Good, the Bad and the Ugly” of the past legislative session and communicate each group’s advocacy plans, facilitating collaborations for the next year. Georgia STOMP was honored to be the focus presentation for this summer’s gathering! 

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On Friday, August 16th, Claire Cox, Georgia STOMP co-lead, updated the gathering on the growth of our statewide coalition and our mission to address period poverty and menstrual equity in Georgia.  There were many nods of agreement as Claire related that a general lack of understanding about women’s menstrual needs has led to inequity not just in our tax base, but in institutions and public spaces across the state.

The morning meant Claire, based in Macon, was able to meet coalition member leaders and other contacts who she had only “met” via telephone conference. In other instances, new organizations expressed interest in knowing more about the work of Georgia STOMP.

It was an inspiring and energizing morning and hopefully a new point of growth for the Coalition!

 

 

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Georgia STOMP’s Newest Coalition Member: GCADV

Georgia STOMP is thrilled to welcome the Georgia Coalition Against Domestic Violence (GCADV) to our coalition! Their expertise in collaboration, advocacy, education and empowerment is a welcomed addition to the Georgia STOMP network. If you aren’t familiar with their organization, their website is linked here.

The Georgia Coalition Against Domestic Violence envisions a Georgia free of domestic violence.  They empower survivors and the programs that serve them, educate the public, and advocate for responsive public policy.

Survivors of domestic violence aren’t simply survivors – they are community members. To only talk about survivors in terms of the domestic violence they’ve experienced ignores their wholeness and disregards the range of identities that they carry and navigate the world through; reality is so much bigger, brighter, and deeper. As the GCADV joins Georgia STOMP’s coalition, they bring an incredibly robust understanding of what challenges survivors face, and are helping to paint the picture of other ways Georgia can ensure survivors are able to thrive in our state. We are grateful to have them, and look forward to sharing successes with you as our ranks continue to grow!

Update from the Department of Public Health

Wednesday, June 5th, Georgia STOMP coalition co-leads, Claire Cox and Adele Stewart, received an update from the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH).

Current DPH distribution plans for menstrual products purchased with the $500,000 allocated in the 2020 state budget are summarized below:

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  • Local community health departments (CHDs) will be able to order menstrual products using existing purchasing procedures for health products supplied by the Department of Public Health.
  • CHDs will be encouraged to start the fiscal year with a supply of a variety of products on their shelves, and order according to community need.
  • Recipients of the products will receive three months’ worth of menstrual products at each visit to DPH, to alleviate the burden of finding transportation.
  • The DPH will assess the distribution at both a mid-year point and at the end of the year.

Georgia STOMP looks forward to learning from the DPH’s program, and is grateful to work alongside them in the pursuit of improved menstrual product access.

Georgia STOMP Coalition Members Meet with the Department of Education

In light of the $1 million allocated in the 2020 budget during the 2019 Legislative Session, on Thursday, May 30, Georgia STOMP coalition members attended a meeting at the Georgia Department of Education to discuss the grant process.

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From Left to Right: Krista Lowe, Sylvia McGee, Therese McGuire, Dr. Bethany Caruso, Adele Stewart, Dr. Andrea Swartzendruber, and Claire Cox. Not pictured: Allan Meyer

Georgia STOMP coalition members were excited to learn about plans for the grant money from Georgia DOE representatives: Allan Meyer, Director of Policy, Krista Lowe, Program Manager for Residential Treatment Facilities, and Therese McGuire, Health and Physical Education Program Specialist.

Thank you to the legislators and advocates who made this program possible. Georgia is on track to be a national leader in the campaign to understand and address period product need in schools. Stay tuned for program updates over the coming months!

Georgia STOMP Spring Summit Meeting

On Tuesday, May 21, members of the Georgia STOMP Coalition met for the Spring Summit Meeting. Progress from the 2019 Legislative Session and plans for future successes were discussed. New faces were welcomed to the table, including Dr. Andrea Swartzendruber, Assistant Professor at the University of Georgia College of Public Health, Laura Register of LBR Consulting, and Kimberlyn Carter from Reform Georgia. Two new coalition member organizations were represented: Andrea Cooke, of Macon Periods Easier, and Sylvia McGee, of the Macon, Georgia Chapter of The Links, Incorporated.

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Followers of the coalition can expect another year of broad ranging advocacy in the areas of period poverty and menstrual equity.

  • addressing period poverty and its effects on the education of women in our state’s public schools.
  • working with state, local, and county agencies to ensure menstrual products are available in adequate supply for incarcerated women and girls.
  • vigorously pursuing the elimination of state sales tax on menstrual products, holding that it is a minimum that can be done to address menstrual equity in Georgia.
  • continuing our successful collaboration with Georgia Emergency Management Agency (GEMA) to facilitate distribution of menstrual products in light of GEMA’s addition of period supplies to their list of basic necessities which grant funds can be used to purchase.

Member organizations appreciate the support followers and advocates have given to the Georgia STOMP initiatives, and look forward to ensuring that the coming months build upon past progress in bringing menstrual equity and an end to period poverty to Georgia.

 

 

 

Georgia STOMP can come to you!

Would your group like to hear about the work of Georgia STOMP?

If you are only recently learning about the issues of Period Poverty and Menstrual Equity: don’t worry, you are not alone! For those who have never struggled to purchase menstrual products, the realization that numerous women and young girls can’t afford this basic need can be overwhelming. And if you’ve never thought about why menstrual products haven’t been considered “basic needs” by emergency management agencies or sales tax codes, and aren’t provided in public restrooms the same as soap and toilet paper are, the idea of Menstrual Equity is new to you!

Georgia STOMP is working with organizations, policy-makers, and advocates across the state to ensure that menstruation ceases to be a barrier to an equitable society.

Leaders of Georgia STOMP are available to speak to your group or organization about Period Poverty, Menstrual Equity and the legislative and advocacy work we have undertaken, including a great many successes already accomplished!

The following is an excerpt from a report made by Rev. Nana’ Kratochvil, V. P. and Program Chair for the League of Women Voters in Macon following a recent program by Georgia STOMP.

Claire Cox, one of the leaders of Georgia Women (and Those Who Stand With Us), brought her passion and advocacy to the League of Women Voters at their regular meeting on April 17th. She shared with us the work Georgia Women is doing to bring fairness and justice to women.  Georgia STOMP (Stop Tax on Menstrual Products) is a coalition working to eliminate taxes on women’s health products.  Cox told us of the difficult choices faced by poor families when their daughters reached the age of first menses. If the choice to buy food is made, their daughters are unable to attend school, or made do with home made substitutes for pads, tampons or menstrual cups.  Several organizations are donating supplies to schools and shelters, but a better, fairer answer must be found. The products would be more affordable is their price did not include a sales tax.

Ms. Cox shared with members of the League the successful attempts to find sponsors for the bill that was introduced to the Georgia Legislature that would eliminate sales taxes on these products. She traced the fate of the bill in the 2019 legislative session. Although it was not successful this session, a cadre of legislators is now awakened to the need for such a bill.  Georgia Women and their Allies will work for its success at the next session.

Members of the League appreciated Ms. Cox’s presentation.  Some members are already participating in the activities of Georgia Women, and others are interested. We look forward to working together in the future.

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