Leia Gluckman staff writer
Periods are not a choice; they are a biological function. Girls and women deal with them on an average of 500 times in their lifetimes. Yet most states tax menstrual products, even though other health care and personal hygiene products are exempt from taxation like Viagra.
While Beverly can’t single-handedly “ax the tax,” it can take its own steps toward advancing menstrual equity.
Exactly one month after International Period Day, Beverly has the opportunity to contribute to a larger movement by beginning to make a difference locally.
Making feminine hygiene products available in all women’s and all-gender bathrooms would allow students to go throughout their day without worrying about whether or not they need to keep a jacket tied around their waist all day. They would not have to worry about asking a teacher if they have an extra pad or tampon they can use.
While all of the restrooms on campus have dispensers, most are left empty and all of them charge you at least twenty-five cents. Women should not be charged for a bodily function. The school doesn’t charge for toilet paper, soap or paper towels in the bathrooms, and it shouldn’t charge for menstrual products.
Beverly could start by replacing the current dispensers with dispensers that offer free pads and tampons and keep them stocked.
Replacing these already damaged and ineffective dispensers with new, fully stocked dispensers that do provide free pads and tampons will cost the district roughly $300.00 per dispenser. This is a small price to pay for the physical health and emotional well-being of roughly half of our school population.
It is already difficult to focus when you have to worry about leaking while you’re taking a test, imagine running to the bathroom only to find that you don’t have a quarter, or even if you do, there are no products available.
Offering pads and tampons in the school nurse’s office isn’t what is needed. When on your period you shouldn’t have to worry about waiting for your next class break to trek to the nurse to hope that she’s actually there.
Periods aren’t something that people and the district should avoid discussing simply because of the stigma that surrounds them. The district needs to address this major conflict that is also present across the globe.
This coming decade is going to be extremely progressive, Beverly should not stay in the past, it must move forward with time.
This larger period equity movement needs support on every level, Beverly can join now and help carry it forward.