Menstrual product equity is vital in schools

Staff Editorial

Unsigned staff editorials reflect the opinion of the majority of the editorial board.

Menstrual product availability at Cal High is lacking. 

There are only two locations on campus with pads and tampons for students: the student bathroom in the Zen Den, aka the wellness center, and the girl’s locker room. 

This leads to the question: Why are feminine hygiene products so hard to find on campus when the school can afford and freely provide other hygienic necessities, such as toilet paper and soap? 

Pads and tampons should not be considered a pricey luxury when they are necessities for anyone who menstruates. Unfortunately, the apparent struggle to obtain period products expands beyond Cal’s campus.

A 2021 series of studies conducted by the feminine hygiene company Thinx and the non-profit PERIOD determined that 23 percent  of students have difficulty affording menstrual products. An additional 59 percent of students reported that schools rarely supply bathrooms with feminine products.

Menstruating is not a cycle that can stop at any desired time. Schools ensuring provisions of period materials in bathrooms would alleviate stress for anyone who is in immediate need of a pad or tampon. Females who have trouble managing the unnecessary and restricting prices on feminine hygiene will be most at ease since school is where students spend the majority of their time.

Realizing that menstrual product equity for high schoolers is most needed on campuses led California to push for free access to period products in schools. By the 2022-2023 school year, public schools and colleges must provide menstrual products under Assembly Bill No. 367, which Gov. Gavin Newsom signed into law on Oct. 8.

Advocacy groups such as Women’s Voices for the Earth and PERIOD supported this decision.

The Menstrual Equity for All Act of 2021 was approved in an effort to expand AB 367, which mandated in 2017 that lower income schools must stock pads and tampons on campus. The new mandate will enforce all public middle and high schools, and colleges to provide students with free menstrual products in almost all bathrooms. 

Menstrual product equity at schools is soon to be welcomed by all who have found discomfort in handling period problems at school after years of no assurance from schools.