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Ending period poverty ends shame

November 17, 2021 – Ally urges lawmakers to address period poverty during the Period Project Rally at the Utah State Capitol. In her candid and inspiring remarks, Ally shared the shame, anxiety and missed opportunities she faced as a teen when her family couldn’t afford to buy period products.

“So when we talk about period poverty, I was THAT girl. When we talk about the girl who rolled up toilet paper and cotton balls to make her pads last longer, I was THAT girl. When we talk about the student who stayed home from school because she didn’t have product, I was THAT girl,” Ally said.

Writing about this event, The Salt Lake Tribune reported that the goal of The Period Project is “to assist students in low-income households who may not be able to afford period products — known as period poverty.”  Research indicates that 1 in 5 teens in the United States come from households that cannot afford period products. These teens regularly miss school as a result. Ally wants to remove the shame around periods and supports this effort to give Utah’s girls better access to period products. Access she didn’t have as a young woman.

“I cannot imagine the tremendous relief I would have felt if someone had considered period products a basic health and sanitation need, much like toilet paper, rather than a luxury,” said Ally. “I think about the shame and anxiety I could have avoided and the classes I would have attended, if I could count on the availability of feminine products when such a request would have exceeded our meager family food budget.”

Ally was invited by Emily Bell McCormick, founder of the Utah Policy Project, to speak at the event. Other project leaders include Kristin Andrus (founder of SisterGoods), Suzy Matheson, Mary Catherine Perry, Neylan McBaine and Brooke Gledhill Wood.  

The Andrus Family Foundation and Gail Miller’s Foundation each donated $1 million to the Period Project. All involved hope the State Legislature will fund the remaining $3.5 to $4.5 million to solve period poverty by providing all public K-12 schools in Utah with free period products. 

In her speech, Ally echoed this request: “Today, we call upon Utah’s leaders to address period poverty for every young woman.”

One event attendee, Alica Derr, thanked Ally for being in touch with the needs of Utah’s girls in this post on Ally’s Instagram.

“When my 11-year-old daughter, Alice, and I got home and were discussing the rally, she said that your speech moved her the most. Thank you for sharing your story. Thank you for the long hours and doing what we all wish we could. Most of all, thank you for making my little girl feel so special today. She said, ‘Mom, I think it’s really cool that an 11-year-old-girl can make a difference too,’” wrote Derr.

Join Ally today to make a difference in the lives of all Utahns!