Free menstrual products are overdue


Isabella del Nido

Throughout history women have been shamed for their periods and it has negatively affected the way we interact with the normal bodily functions. For instance, a 2019 Kentucky bill was proposed that would make menstural products non-taxable. It didn’t even make it out of committee. Shying away from this subject is one of the reasons that so many people don’t have access to the sanitary products they need.

Audrey Hagan, Staff Writer

Tampons and pads have recently been installed into every girls bathrooms for open use

In 2017 a law was passed in California requiring public schools in low income areas to provide free tampons, pads, and other period products in bathrooms. Recently, the California legislation has expanded that previous law to say that all public school bathrooms must stock free menstrual products starting next school year. This year, Bowie is following that model and putting free menstrual products in our restrooms as well.

In my opinion, having free menstrual products in our restrooms is a positive and long overdue decision. In most cases, the people making laws about menstrual products are men that either don’t understand women’s experiences, or are too embarrassed to talk about them. This has caused the majority of women’s rights to go unnoticed and not talked about.

A lot of female students also have to leave school due to not being prepared to manage a bleed through. A CNN survey from this year showed that one fourth of women in the U.S. alone have missed a day of school due to their period. Most commonly this absence is due to not being prepared or not having access to the necessary period products.

Another study from the Global Citizen in 2018 showed that approximately 131 million girls around the world are out of school at some point each year due to not having access to sanitary menstrual products. This means that not having access to these essential commodities directly affects women’s education with the lack of school recognition and support.

Additionally, I think it is a good thing free menstrual products have been made available in our bathrooms. Period products can be expensive and not everyone can afford them. Only 10 states in the US have no taxes on menstrual products and 30 states have luxury taxes on them. Luxury taxes can be as high as 20% like in Mississippi, Alabama, and even Texas.

Other necessities like groceries, water, and prescription drugs are exempt from taxes in the state of Texas, so why shouldn’t menstrual products be as well? For so many women living in Texas these products are a necessity.

According to a CNN article in 2021, women in America spend approximately $20 million dollars every year purely on the taxes that come with menstrual products. Having these free menstrual products in our restrooms may take off some financial pressure for some students and families.

Keep in mind that half the Bowie population is female, that means around 1500 women and girls on campus need access to menstrual products. Periods may be considered a taboo subject for some people but we need to recognize just how many people this affects and benefits.

But why are periods considered such a taboo subject? Well, in my opinion, the answer to that is simple: Misogyny. It’s no great secret that throughout history power has been passed on from man to man. Men have always been the ones in positions of power to make meaningful decisions, including decisions about women’s bodies.

In fact, a study conducted by the New York Post in 2018 found that 42% of women have been shamed for their periods before. If we work to break down these biases and talk about these subjects then it will help normalize discussions about bodily functions.

Because of the expenses put on menstrual products some people may argue that it will cost the school district or state too much money. Others might not want their tax dollars to go to paying for someone else’s pads and tampons. At the end of the day you’re still going to have to pay taxes and schools are going to do with their funding as they please. Bowie is doing a lot this year to try and make school a more comfortable and accepting place. How can trying to make students more comfortable at school be a bad thing?

We as people have a tendency to live in our own little bubbles but the prospect of simply not having the funds to get menstrual products is a very real reality for not only people around the world, but in Texas and at Bowie. Everyone deserves the right to be comfortable in their own skin and not stress about whether or not their period will affect their education. Having free menstrual products in our bathrooms is something that will affect a large group of people and is an overall positive and necessary societal implementation.