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Alabama House of Representatives Approves Increase of Feminine Hygiene Grant Budget

Updated: Apr 30

 On April 9, 2024, the Alabama House of Representatives voted to double the allocation for the Feminine Hygiene Products Grant Program line item in the Education Trust Budget from $200,000 to $400,000 for the 2025 fiscal year, effective October 1, 2024. State Rep. Rolanda Hollis led the charge to increase the Feminine Hygiene Grant line item, with support from State Rep. Danny Garrett, sponsor of HB 145, the bill that includes all appropriations for public education in the state of Alabama. 

State Representative Rolanda Hollis led the charge to double the Feminine Hygiene Products Grant budget for more than 50,000 girls in the state's Title I schools.

The Feminine Hygiene Grant is a result of the unanimous legislative passage in April 2022 of Rep. Hollis’ HB 50 “Period Poverty Law.” The grant was established in fiscal year 2023 to allocate state funds to the Alabama Department of Education to administer grants to provide menstrual supplies for more than 50,000 girls in grades five through 12 in Alabama’s Title I schools.

“I am so appreciative of Rep. Garrett and my House colleagues for recognizing the importance of girls statewide having access to the menstrual supplies they need to be healthy in school,” said Rep. Hollis, who also serves as Chairwoman of Women in Training, Inc. “Educators and school nurses were telling us that the original $200,000 was not enough to meet the needs of our girls who need feminine hygiene products every single month.”

Alabama State Rep. Danny Garrett successfully pushed through the Education Trust Fund budget for FY 2025 in the House of Representatives.

Breanna and Brooke Bennett, the 16-year-old founders of Women in Training, Inc., were thrilled to hear the news about the House vote.

Breanna and Brooke Bennett inspired Rep. Rolanda Hollis' HB 50 bill that provides funding for Alabama's Feminine Hygiene Products Grants program.

“Representative Hollis promised us she would work to increase the budget for the Feminine Hygiene Grant program, and she's doing just that!” Breanna exclaimed. “We’re so excited the Alabama House of Representatives supported this important gender equity program to help end period poverty.”

Brooke agreed: “When girls have the supplies they need to stay in school, they are happier and can successfully participate in academic, athletic and other extracurricular activities. I am hopeful the Senate will also pass the Education Trust Fund budget.”

The House approved a $9.35 billion ETF budget, which is an increase of $550 million, or 6.25%, from the previous year. It now goes to the Senate.

In the justification for funding for Rep. Hollis' 2022 HB 50 bill, then-Women in Training, Inc. General Counsel Akiesha Anderson wrote: "A 2019 survey of women who attended U.S. high schools found that nearly 24% left school early due to  a lack of access to feminine hygiene products and nearly 13% missed school altogether when they  were on their period because they couldn’t access menstrual supplies. Furthermore, one quarter of students enrolled in Alabama schools live in poverty."

Dr. Eric Mackey, Superintendent, Alabama State Department, disseminated a memorandum on October 24, 2023, to school superintendents to outline a  simplified process for school staff members to access the Feminine Hygiene Products Grants funding. “Annually, funds will be awarded to applicable local education agencies (LEAs) for each qualifying school on a pro rata basis, based on the total number of female students enrolled in Grades 5 through 12 at those schools…. Funds will automatically be disbursed to the LEAs on a quarterly basis.” 

One in four American girls and young women skip school or miss work because they cannot afford sanitary pads or tampons to stay healthy and clean during their period. To alleviate 

period poverty, Women in Training, Inc. provides donations of WITKITS – canvas bags full of feminine hygiene products – to at-risk girls, young women and nonbinary youth. WIT also provides educational information programs about menstruation for girls and publishes the brochure, “The WIT Guide to the Menstrual Cycle.”

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