Mission & History
Period Equity is the nation’s only legal organization dedicated to ensuring accessible, affordable and safe menstrual products. We leverage the traditional tools of law, policy and legal advocacy, thought leadership, and media strategy to achieve menstrual equity.
Our focus is on three core issues—simply stated, “the tax, access, and safety.” We believe that in order to have a fully participatory society, we must have laws and policies that ensure menstrual products are safe and affordable for everyone who needs them.
This is the very essence of “menstrual equity”—the phrase and frame we created and coined. Co-founder Jennifer Weiss-Wolf wrote the book on it—Periods Gone Public: Taking a Stand for Menstrual Equity, published in 2017 and lauded by Gloria Steinem as “the beginning of liberation for us all.”
The Tax: Since 2015, when Cosmopolitan joined us to post the first national petition challenging the tampon tax, six states(CT, FL, IL, NV, NY, RI) and two cities (Chicago and Denver), as well as Washington, DC, have eliminated the tax. CA temporarily suspended it. And scores more have introduced legislation to do so. Period Equity was behind the 2016 legal challenge in New York State; within ten days of filing a class action lawsuit, state legislators and the governor pledged to eliminate the tax.
Access: We worked in close coordination with the New York City Council on the 2016 legislative package, the first of its kind in the country, requiring free menstrual products in schools, shelters, and jails. Those policies since have been replicated in dozens of states across the U.S., including AZ, CA, CT, IL, KY, MD, NH, NY, and VA, among others. Even U.S. Congress and the president embraced “access,” signing into law the FIRST STEP Act requiring free menstrual products for incarcerated women. Legislation to allow people to set aside pre-tax dollars to buy menstrual products—first proposed in our New York Times op-ed—was introduced in Congress in 2018.
Safety: Period Equity collaborates with scientists, non-profits, and private attorneys to research litigation strategies, including Proposition 65, directed toward warning consumers, making products safer, pushing for long-term testing, and enabling institutional procurement of safe menstrual supplies, particularly for schoolchildren.
Period Equity not only frames policy interventions – we keep these issues in the news. We partner with hundreds of journalists from around the world, pitching and placing stories and writing scores of our own. Our co-founders have traveled extensively around the globe giving hundreds of talks about menstrual equity, participating in panels and protests, and speaking out publicly on these and related issues.