Spending money on pads and tampons has long been considered part of the "pink tax" that women and girls simply must pay.
But a major step in what advocates are calling "menstrual equality" occured last week when the New York City Council unanimously voted to approve legislation to provide free access to pads and tampons in public schools, prisons and homeless shelters.
Meanwhile, in New Jersey, sisters Emma and Quinn Joy were already working toward the same goal. After volunteering at a food pantry and realizing the dire need for tampons and pads, they launched Girls Helping Girls, Period. in December 2014, which collects unopened boxes of feminine hygiene products and distributes them through food pantries, schools and outreach programs.
Girls Helping Girls, Period. co-founder Quinn Joy, 13, took time out of her last day of 7th grade to talk about why the recent legislation is so important — and why there’s still so much work to do.
It's pretty amazing that in junior high, you were working toward the same goal as the New York City Council. What did you think when you heard the bill passed?
Not only was the bill passed, but all 49 members of the legislature voted for it, and that sends a really important message. It’s important when you’re in school you’re not being distracted by a bodily function. It’s really important that when you go to school, you’re going to learn. It’s normal. Your period is normal. I was so excited when I heard about New York City, because they have the biggest school system in the country, and that it was the first [in the nation]. And I’m really proud that I was very close.