When Brooke and Breanna Bennett learned that some girls miss school because they lack access to the period products they need, they decided to do something about it.
In some ways, Brooke and Breanna are like any typical 13-year-old teens. They play tennis, go to summer camp, and they’re both on the dance team at school. But they also share something very unique- they are the founders of Women in Training, or WIT, an organization that aims to end period poverty, both by providing period products for young people who cannot afford them and championing social causes that also help empower young women.
Their project started when they were only 10 years old. Their mother, who taught at an all-girls school, told them about how some of her students didn’t have access to period products and were forced to use things like socks and tissues. The girls were shocked. “We were like, ‘why are they doing that’,” says Brooke. Their mother explained that when some people living in poverty need to make the choice between buying essential products like food and clothing, and period products, the latter are usually what fall by the wayside. “It sounded so unhealthy,” says Breanna. “The girls would just not come to school because they didn’t want to have the embarrassment of bleeding through their uniform. When they came back to school, they wouldn’t know any of the material. So, we decided to donate pads, so the girls didn’t have to have to worry about missing school.”
These donations, which started as a small fundraiser for the twins’ birthday, have quickly grown into a full-blown charitable operation, which they called WIT. WIT has now attracted the attention of Always, Procter & Gamble’s leading menstrual care brand. In 2020, Always recognized Brooke and Breanna as Period Heroes and donated 20,000 period products to support the Women In Training efforts. These donations have become an integral part of the packages the organization provides for girls, known as “WITKITS.”
Beyond providing period products to those who need them, Breanna and Brooke have another goal with WIT- to remove the stigma of having a period. “Periods are not like a secret or anything. You shouldn’t be ashamed about them. They’re part of your body,” said Brooke. “We give our WITKITS away with information brochures, so if some of the girls haven’t gotten their periods yet, we can teach them.”
Breanna goes on to explain where she thinks this lack of communication about periods comes from: “Talking about periods is taboo because of history. Women have just learned to not talk about their period. Women in Training wants to end that stigma and teach kids that periods aren’t anything to be ashamed of.”
After the incredible success of WIT donations, you’d think the young teenagers would consider their mission accomplished… but not the Bennett sisters. The girls’ next challenge? Making change in public schools. Brooke gave a speech to the Alabama House of Representatives and Senate to pass House Bill 88, which would require public schools in Alabama to provide students with free period products. The House Ways and Means Committee voted unanimously to move the bill forward, and the girls are eager for it to be signed into law.
But they don’t even plan to stop there! Brooke and Breanna know that it’s not just students who experience period poverty: “Our target audience is anyone who menstruates,” says Breanna. “It doesn’t matter what age you are, what you identify as, what your gender is. When I hear the statistics about period poverty, all I want to do is fix that.”
Considering how much Brooke and Breanna have done at just 13, it’s remarkable to think about what’s in store for them: “Just because we’re young doesn’t mean we can’t do big things and have big goals and big dreams. Nowadays young people are raising their voices, and we’re all finding that our voices are powerful.”
P&G and its brands believe they have a responsibility to be a force for good — through the products they create and the positive impact they can have. That’s why the Company committed to Lead with Love and do 2,021 Acts of Good in 2021. The Always End Period Poverty campaign is just one example and you can learn more about how Always is helping around the world here. And check back next week for another ‘Leading with Love’ story, the second in a series of five new KCM videos produced in partnership with P&G.