Meng Reintroduces Legislation to Ensure Menstrual Products to Peace Corps Volunteers on 60th Anniversary of Peace Corps

Mar 1, 2021
Press Release
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Rep. Grace Meng (D-NY), Vice Chair of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on State and Foreign Operations, today reintroduced the Menstrual Equity in the Peace Corps Act, a bill that seeks to address the lack of access and affordability of menstrual products for Peace Corps Volunteers serving abroad.
 
This legislation directs the Peace Corps Director to establish a comprehensive policy that provides free menstrual products to volunteers; either direct access to these items or through increases in stipends to cover the costs of purchasing the products.
 
“Peace Corps Volunteers work tirelessly and make tremendous sacrifices to advance peace and friendship between the U.S. and countries across the globe,” said Meng. “They deserve access to basic and necessary items and that includes needed menstrual products. Unfortunately though, too many Peace Corps Volunteers have struggled to get a hold of these items, and that is completely unacceptable. These products are either not readily available where they are serving or they are much more expensive than they would be in the U.S. So many of these volunteers are also placed in very remote locations – forcing them to travel extremely far distances to access menstrual products. Other volunteers have had to pay hundreds of dollars out-of-pocket to ship these items from the U.S. to their country of service. For the 65 percent of Peace Corps Volunteers who are women, and the more than 90 percent who are under the age of 50, this is simply a matter of equity and fairness. My bill would make sure that Peace Corps Volunteers have free and equitable access to these items. Access to menstrual products is a health care right. Today, on the 60th Anniversary of the Peace Corps, I recognize the bravery of all of my constituents who have served in Peace Corps, and I am proud to introduce this critical bill that upholds the health and safety of all who answer the call to serve in Peace Corps.”
 
A copy of the Menstrual Equity in the Peace Corps Act can be viewed here.
 
The Congresswoman secured in the Fiscal Year 2021 Consolidated Appropriations Act, a provision to direct the Peace Corps Director to provide a strategy to ensure that all Peace Corps Volunteers who need menstrual products have access to them, regardless of the country of service.
 
The Congresswoman has championed the issue of menstrual equity in Congress, and across the country, working tirelessly to make menstrual products more accessible and safer to those who need them. She plans to soon reintroduce the Menstrual Equity for All Act which seeks to increase access for different populations, from students, low-income and incarcerated individuals, and those experiencing homelessness; the Menstrual Products Right To Know Act to require ingredient disclosure of menstrual hygiene products; and the Good Samaritan Menstrual Products Act which would allow for more menstrual products to be donated to and distributed by nonprofit organizations.
 
Today, March 1st, marks the 60th anniversary of the founding of the Peace Corps in 1961 when President John F. Kennedy issued Executive Order 10924 which established this agency within the Department of State.