Period product access

Orianna D'Landazuri, Staff Writer

I think it’s safe to assume we all know someone in our lives who experiences menstruation. Yet, even with this widely shared experience, there is still a lack of education about it.
Period poverty is a term that refers to the inability to afford products that manage menstrual bleeding like pads and tampons. This is a public health crisis that is not widely talked about due to the stigma around menstruation. Some people view periods as a taboo subject that should be kept private, and some even think the topic is disgusting.
Menstruating is a healthy normal occurrence in people’s lives. When the discussion of periods is brought up it mostly only concerns women, leaving trans and non-binary people out of the discussion. Most tend to forget that women are not the only people who experience menstruation in their lives.
To prevent these types of negative, unhealthy stereotypes, schools should concentrate on destigmatizing menstruation and integrating lessons about menstruation into the curriculum. Doing this will lead to open conversations where periods are normalized.
Although period products are provided in bathrooms, they are oftentimes not refilled. These products are used as frequently as toilet paper for many and need to be treated as such. Schools can help by making sure these products are accessible in all restrooms daily, not just the women’s.
Many students rely on these products being distributed in schools because they do not have access to them at home. According to U.S News, 23 percent of U.S students struggle to afford menstrual hygiene products. A study found that four in five menstruating teens said they have either missed class time, or know someone who missed class time, because they did not have access to period products.
With this monthly cycle being a universal experience for many, students are still penalized in school. For example, not having set aside days like mental health days to be utilized for menstruation, which would be important for students. Many deal with the painful side effects such as severe cramping, fatigue, bloating and headaches. With these side effects students are not able to get excused from daily school activities like gym class.