School supplies are important for every student, but period products are often overlooked as a vital necessity to ensure girls are able to stay in class and focused on their education.

Always, the leader in global menstrual care, wants to change that. This September, Always continues their #EndPeriodPoverty efforts launched in 2018 to raise awareness and take action to help keep girls in school.

When people learn that nearly 1 in 5 girls in the U.S. have missed school due to lack of period products, many are shocked and 89% of them want to take action to help keep girls in school. While we usually associate period poverty (i.e. the lack of access of period products due to economic factors), with girls in other countries, it’s not just someone else’s problem. It’s happening closer to home than people may think. The most recent Always Confidence & Puberty Local Market Study surveyed cities representative of the different regions around the country and found that in fact, girls everywhere have missed school because of period poverty, specifically:

143,000 girls in the New York City area
88,000 girls in the Los Angeles area
65,000 girls in the Chicago area
57,000 girls in the Atlanta area
38,000 girls in the Houston area

To help raise awareness all across the country, Always is partnering with actress and activist Sophia Bush to rally support to #EndPeriodPoverty and keep girls in school.

“The idea that so many girls in the US, including in my own city of Los Angeles, are having to sacrifice parts of their education because they don’t have access to period products breaks my heart,” said Sophia Bush. “When Always showed me the data about how prevalent the issue is right here in my own backyard, I knew we had to do something. I’m thrilled to know that together we’ll be able to make a difference for so many girls this school year.”

Always believes lack of access to period products should not stand in the way of a girl and her education. Last year, Always donated more than 20 million period products to U.S. school girls thanks to the support of people across the country and now want to do more. For this back to school season, Always aims to provide millions of additional products to help keep girls in school and support families via their longstanding partner, the Feeding America network of foodbanks.

Knowing that communities everywhere are impacted by this issue, Always is focusing their latest efforts on not just tackling period poverty from a national level, but also on a local level by supporting “Period Heroes”. These are individuals leading efforts to help #EndPeriodPoverty for school-aged girls in their communities. Always wants to champion and highlight the amazing work they’re doing to make a difference for girls in communities all over the U.S.

“With the generosity of our community, we have been able to serve young women in the East Nashville neighborhood. Now, with the generosity of Always, we will be able to serve young women in Nashville: Every girl. Every day. Always,” said Charity Brock, a local Nashville Period Hero and founder of On The Dot.

While back-to-school should be an exciting time, girls that experience period poverty often miss school and other important confidence-building activities. The effects can be long-lasting, and are especially damaging during puberty, when school education and interactions are critical for adolescents’ healthy development. Of girls that have missed school because of period poverty, not only did 49% of them say that missing school negatively impacted their academic performance, but 3 out of 5 tried to hide it from the people around them.

To further raise awareness of the impact period poverty has on girls’ education, Always has partnered with National Geographic to share a girl’s compelling first-hand experience with period poverty and how access to period products and the right support can help impact her confidence and future. You can watch Emily’s inspiring story ["here"https://youtu.be/zEqTEmNkP1Y]. Her story will be featured as an extended short in the “Keeping Girls in School” episode which explores how periods are a barrier to girls’ education globally. This episode premiers on September 26 on National Geographic as a part of the new series ACTIVATE: A GLOBAL CITIZEN MOVEMENT.

“We’re proud to continue our mission to keep more girls in school by providing them with the period products they need, and to raise awareness of this important issue,” said Hesham Tohamy, Vice President Feminine Care Procter & Gamble. “For the past 35 years, Always has been committed to championing girls’ confidence, and we’re not stopping now. Together with the help of valued partners like Feeding America, local period advocates, our customers and people around the U.S., we can help #EndPeriodPoverty and create a country where no girl has to miss school because of lack of access to period protection.”

To find out more about Always’ mission to #EndPeriodPoverty and keep girls in school, click here.

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