Normalize Access To Free And Affordable Menstrual Products

Zora Hollie, Reporter

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Two weeks ago, free menstrual products were beginning to be introduced in several restrooms around school. This change has been underway since 2021, when California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a new law requiring free menstrual products for students in public schools. 

Although it’s exciting that California has made this change, schools in every state should follow our lead. Based on recent studies, a quarter of students struggle to access period products, especially those who are a part of low-income families or minority groups. And with inflation affecting the price of tampons and pads, it is estimated that the average woman spends about $20 on feminine hygiene products per cycle. 

Life can already be more difficult while you’re on your period. Students may have to deal with excruciating cramps, fluctuating emotions, and other symptoms like fatigue or bloating. It can feel insufferable when, on top of that, you have to worry about being able to afford tampons or pads. 

Not only does providing free sanitary products in schools alleviate stress for students, it also helps eliminate the stigma and shame surrounding periods. Menstrual cycles are a normal, natural part of daily life and feminine products should be seen as a necessity, similar to toilet paper or hand soap. 

In countries like India, a big majority of women aren’t able to use sanitary napkins while on their period, and instead use products like old rags or newspapers. If more U.S. states required free access to menstrual products, it could set the precedent for developing countries to start prioritizing feminine hygiene.

More schools around the U.S. and worldwide should implement initiatives for free access to menstrual products for its students. These initiatives would not only be important for feminine hygiene and health, but for the progression of human rights. After the overturning of Roe v. Wade, free access to menstrual products in schools is a small, simple step in the right direction.