For this second episode in the We Should Talk About Women Celebration, The Two Jess(es) sit down with Holly Seibold, founder and CEO of the non-profit organization BRAWS (Bringing Resources to Aid Women's Shelters). BRAWS provides pads, tampons, bras and underwear to shelters, schools, prisons, and food pantries to women who may need them. But more than feminine hygiene products, Holly and her team provides women with dignity around a subject that still makes people so uncomfortable. Yet it is one of the simplest problems to solve.
Holly educates Jess and Jess on the issues around Period Poverty and Menstrual Equity- something that really needs to be spotlighted in the COVID times we are living in right now. Holly's commitment and passion for equal rights for women who menstruate is inspiring and motivating, and exactly the kind of spirit that IS what the international woman is all about.
Meet Holly Siebold!
Holly Seibold is the Founder and Executive Director of BRAWS: Bringing Resources to Aid Women's Shelters. In partnership with generous individuals, foundations, and businesses in the community, Holly and her team of dedicated staff and volunteers have distributed over two million period products and undergarments to women and girls in crisis. In a little more than five years, Holly has built one of the most recognized local nonprofit organizations in the DC region.
Holly began her career in the nonprofit sector before becoming an educator in the public school system. Transitioning from the classroom to a small business owner in 2010, Holly launched a successful educational firm, offering STEM consulting services and educational programs to clients.
Holly is a fierce advocate for women's rights, testifying in Washington, DC and Richmond in favor of the repeal of the tampon tax and an increased access to menstrual supplies for all girls and women in shelters, schools, jails, and prisons. Holly’s advocacy led to the successful passage of DC Law 21-201 (The Feminine Hygiene and Diapers Sales Tax Exemption Amendment Act of 2016), the 2019 Virginia Senate Bill 1715 (The Dignity Act), and the 2020 Virginia House Bill 405 - mandating menstrual supplies in school bathrooms. Holly also is a co-founder of the Virginia Menstrual Equity Coalition (VMEC), a statewide coalition that mobilizes supporters to collectively take action on the injustice of menstrual inequity. As a result of these efforts and more, Virginia’s General Assembly passed the 2018 House Bill 83 unanimously, requiring correctional facilities to provide menstrual supplies on demand and at no charge to inmates. Holly describes the evolution of this bill in her published piece, “Free to Bleed: Virginia House Bill 83 and the Dignity of Menstruating Inmates,” in Volume 22 of the University of Richmond’s Public Interest Law Review.
Exposing issues that much too often remain in the dark, Holly has educated the public on solutions to problems that result from inequity. She has participated in several prominent panels, including Netroots Nation 2018, “Menstrual Equity: Practical Action to Public Policy” and Congresswoman Grace Meng (D-NY), “The Case for Menstrual Equity: How Policies Surrounding Menstruation Affect Outcomes for Women.” She has also presented a TedX Talk on this very issue. Holly has also been featured in multiple national and local media outlets, but most notably in the Washington Post article, "The Once-Whispered Topic of Women's Menstruation Now Has Political Cachet."
Holly proudly serv