Representatives of Women In Training, Inc. joined State Representative Rolanda Hollis at the Alabama House of Representatives’ Ways and Means Education Committee on Wednesday, February 23, 2022, to support House Bill 50 (HB 50) that would require schools across the state to provide free period products to students in need.
State Rep. Rolanda Hollis introduced HB 50 to require local boards of education to provide feminine hygiene products in girls’ restrooms, at certain Alabama schools, at no cost to students. The bill would also provide $200,000 to local boards of education to implement the requirement.
Rep. Hollis introduced HB 50 in the Alabama Legislature late last year. She originally introduced the same bill in February 2020 as HB 237, but the COVID-19 pandemic ended the legislative session before the bill could come before lawmakers for a vote. Rep. Hollis introduced the bill again in a new session that began later in 2020, as HB 88. The state House of Representatives approved it last year, but the session ended before the state Senate could vote on the bill.
Hollis was inspired by 14-year-old twin sisters Breanna and Brooke Bennett, who co-founded Women In Training, Inc. for their 12th birthday in July 2019. After learning that 20% of American girls and women could not afford menstrual products, the twins decided to donate their birthday money that year to buy products for those in need.
Since its founding, Women In Training, Inc. has distributed more than 12,000 WITKITS® to girls and women in need across Alabama.
“Breanna and Brooke are my ‘sheroes,’ and their selfless acts of kindness continue to inspire me to get this important legislation passed,” Rep. Hollis said. “This bill will provide girls across Alabama with the menstrual products that they need.”
Since the pandemic began, the number of girls and women who cannot afford period products has increased from one in five to one in four, or 25%.
“Women In Training is honored to provide the inspiration for and to speak in favor of state legislation that would place free period products in schools across Alabama,” said Dr. LaToya Clark, M.D., the president and chairwoman of Women In Training, Inc. “This bill will be an important step toward our goal of ending period poverty. As people who menstruate continue to struggle with the economic impact of the pandemic, Women In Training is here to help in every way possible.”
WIT’s signature program is the WITKITS® Campaign to provide menstrual, hygiene and dental items to young, low-income people who menstruate.
The following WIT Board Members attended the hearing:
Adeyela Bennett, Chief Executive Officer
Bradley C. Bennett, Communications Director
Stephanie A. McCorvey, Vice President for Youth Development
Khadidah Stone, Chairwoman for Government Relations
The following WIT Young Leaders attended the hearing:
Ms. Sandra Whatley Washington and Ms. Chandra Spicer of Junior League of Montgomery Associates, and Ms. Lindsay Gray of Bundles of Hope Diaper Bank of Birmingham also attended the session to provide support.
Photo credit: Alba De La Torre