Menstrual Equity For All
Menstrual Equity For All
The Flow Initiative and Assemblywoman Shanique Speight, representative of New Jersey's 29th Legislative District, held the state’s first-ever Menstrual Health Equity Summit on October 22, 2022 at the New Jersey Institute of Technology in Newark, NJ.
During the summit, attendees learned about a wide range of women’s health issues including menstrual health equity, menstrual disorders, menopause, and other topics. The summit speakers included influential voices and advocates:
To address growing women’s health concerns in New Jersey, First Lady Tammy Murphy launched Nurture NJ, a public campaign to halve maternal deaths and eliminate the racial gaps in outcomes here — among the nation’s highest — by 2025. In tandem, Assemblywomen Speight and other female legislators have been working diligently to raise awareness of the lack of menstrual health access and close the gap for the state’s most vulnerable residents.
“As a legislator, I am proud to lead the way in New Jersey when it comes to menstrual health and launch the first-ever Menstrual Health Equity Summit with The Flow Initiative,” said Assemblywomen Speight. “Having drafted a legislative package of 21 bills all centered around menstrual health, I consider this summit the launch pad for these bills to gain exposure and support from the general public.”
In addition to legislative action, grassroots organizations such as The Flow Initiative are essential to ensure all menstruating people continue to receive menstrual products and resources. Founded by Eiko La Boria, The Flow Initiative has distributed more than 750,000 products to women, girls, and members of the LGBTQ+ community. To strengthen the organization’s mission, The Flow Initiative partnered with Sabrina Browne, a period poverty advocate to spearhead organizational partnerships and increase consumer awareness nationwide. Together, La Boria and Browne have worked with a variety of local and national partners to address menstrual health issues.
“Since the beginning of time, menstruation has been weaponized as a means to punish, humiliate and undermine. Our bodies have either been ignored or regulated, hardly ever respected. It is time to normalize menstruation and establish pathways for greater levels of access and healthcare. It is time to create a new normal for all those who menstruate, because menstrual health matters,” said La Boria.
Today, more than ever, it’s imperative to address period poverty in our communities, and the New Jersey Menstrual Health Equity Summit brought together more than 250 in-person attendees and 200 virtual attendees committed to finding solutions. The event sponsors included Horizon Blue Cruss Blue Shield New Jersey, NJIT, Arts High School, RWJ Barnabas Health, USOW, Alamo, and the State of New Jersey. Through generous sponsors, all in-person attendees went home with a three-month supply of menstrual health products.
The inaugural event also inspired other organizations to launch menstreal health equity summits, which have now become popular in 2023. The Flow Initiative is proud to be an innovator in this space and to have held a summit that sparked a wider movement across the country.
Visit the event hashtag #NJMHES2022 to see images and video from last year's event, and contact Sabrina Browne, Partner at The Flow Initiative to learn more about the next summit.
For in-kind product donations for the summit, please contact Sabrina Browne, Partner at The Flow Initiative.