Many people in the US do not have affordable access to menstrual hygiene products
People all across the US experience period poverty from students to low-income women and girls to transgender and non-binary individuals. Period poverty refers to inequity related to menstruation.
As of 2019, 35 states categorize pads and tampons as luxury goods and impose a sales tax on top of their already high price. In those same states, items such as groceries and some medications are tax-exempt under the guise of being non-negotiable items.
Menstruation is something people experience on average 5-7 days every month for several years of their life. Tampons and pads are just as a necessity as those tax-exempt items.
Menstrual equity should be a priority for colleges and universities
Students should not have to worry about their menstrual hygiene while in school.
“Title IX says education shouldn’t be interrupted on the basis of gender discrimination” Jamie Kessler, an organizer for Students for Reproductive Justice, said. “Having to not have access to menstrual products, if you have to go home or can’t afford them, and it is causing you not to be able to participate in your education as fully as possible is gender discrimination.”
Menstrual products should be available on campuses for anyone who has a period.
“The access needs to be equitable,” Kessler said. “A big thing that people need to catch up on is that anyone can menstruate, it’s not just cisgender women. The access needs to be not just the products in women’s restrooms because people who use women’s restrooms are not the only ones who need the products.”
The US is behind other countries in menstrual equity
New Zealand, Scotland, Wales and England have all begun to offer free menstrual products in all school, colleges and universities.
While some schools and states offer free products, many states profit off of periods due to high sales tax. Providing pads and tampons on campuses is a small step to ensure better access for those with periods.
Half of the US population has, is, or will be using menstrual products and should have complete access to them. Menstrual hygiene should be a right, not a privilege.
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