Help ISSA End Period Poverty New!By John Nothdurft | November 7, 2022 << Back to Articles
On October 24, 2022, ISSA, the worldwide cleaning industry association, announced the launch of an educational and advocacy campaign aimed at ending period poverty and advancing period dignity. The new initiative is in partnership with ISSA Hygieia Network, an ISSA Charities™ signature program dedicated to the advancement and retention of women in the cleaning industry.
The campaign is guided by the belief that menstrual care solutions should be as available in away-from-home restrooms as soap, toilet paper, and paper towels. Far too few facilities consider the impact of their patrons being left unprepared while away from home, should someone’s period come unexpectedly. A survey conducted by Harris Interactive, on behalf of Free the Tampons Foundation, found that 86% of women have started their periods unexpectedly in public without the supplies they need.
As part of this campaign, ISSA will lead a multi-faceted advocacy and lobbying effort in support of public policies to increase access to menstrual care products, dispensers, and disposal solutions in away-from-home venues. The increased access to period products, dispensers, and disposal solutions will significantly reduce period poverty, school absenteeism, and protect the health and well-being of cleaning workers and the public.
The goal is to ensure no one should be without easy access to necessary period products and disposal solutions when needed. This new campaign aims to build on bipartisan legislation that has been passed in more than a half-dozen states to make period products more readily available in places such as schools, homeless shelters, and prisons, as well as eliminate the sales tax on menstrual care products. It’s not often California and Utah—two vastly different states politically—both pass similar legislation, but that is what happened in the last couple of years when both states passed legislation to put free menstrual products in middle and high schools.
ISSA’s campaign hopes to add fuel to the growing movement led by grassroots activists, nonprofits, and businesses that are already having a positive impact in this space. It is important, being the leading trade association for the cleaning industry, to help enlighten the industry on issues related to this critical concern. We plan to help educate and engage facility managers, cleaning industry leaders, and the public about the benefits of increasing access to menstrual products and disposal solutions.
Beyond the obvious health benefits of universal access, there are other gains for patrons, as well as employees and maintenance staff. Providing reliable, attractive, and easy-to-use dispensers stocked with tampons and pads—and a clean and easy means of disposal—patrons and employees feel that their needs and well-being are being considered.
Additionally, ISSA has created an advisory council made up of leaders from across the industry to help guide the initiative. These council members include:
- Shallan Ramsey, CEO, founder, and inventor at MaskIT®
- Jennifer Severns, chief revenue officer (CRO) at Aunt Flow
- Joyce Telmo-Kanti, global vice president of marketing at Citron Hygiene
- Kenneth Vuylsteke, board member of HOSPECO Brands Group
- Nilofar Yagana, vice president of marketing at Bobrick
ISSA wants to make a difference with this issue because our industry has the expertise, reach, and influence to affect real change. Our members have a presence in every public restroom in the nation, and increasingly on a global stage. Because of this, and because it’s the right thing to do, we are standing up to advocate for lasting change in menstrual care perception.
We hope you will join us in doing your part to help us achieve our goal of making free menstrual care products the rule—not the exception—in public restrooms. Our industry is uniquely positioned to further this worthy cause.
ISSA invites interested individuals and companies to visit www.issa.com/EPP and learn more about how they can become involved in the End Period Poverty campaign.
To become a sponsor or supporter of the initiative, contact John Nothdurft, the ISSA director of government affairs, at j[email protected].
About the Author.
John Nothdurft is the Director of Government Affairs for ISSA. He can be reached at [email protected].