Wilson should provide free menstrual products

Kavita O'Malley

Having a period is totally normal. In fact, if you’re born with a uterus, it’s pretty much inevitable. Getting your period is uncomfortable and often unpredictable. Wilson needs to accommodate its students by providing them with menstrual products in school bathrooms. 

 Without menstrual products at our disposal, periods become far more challenging to deal with. For some, IUDs or contraceptives allow some control over the situation; for others, pads and tampons do the trick. However, people who mensturate do not always have access to these products when needed and it should not be expected that all students have the resources to pay for these products at all.

Think about it: roughly one period every month for seven days, you end up having to stock up on  menstrual products. Those costs add up, and not everyone has enough money to continuously supply themselves with those materials. Families that can’t afford food are provided with food stamps, but there is no equivalent for menstrual products even though they’re also essential. Plus, due to the sales tax on them, they are even more of a financial burden, especially for families where every penny counts.

Items generally designated for male consumers such as viagra and lube do not fall under the sales tax but menstrual products do. Placing a tax on these items affirms the mindset that womens’ needs are non essential which in turn further isolates and demeans them. 

In schools, items such as paper, pencils, and lunches that are viewed as essential are thus often provided to students because the school knows that without those materials, students simply can’t learn properly. The same can be said for menstrual products. 

Let’s say a student gets their period in the middle of class but doesn’t have any period products at their disposal. Although materials are available in the nurse’s office, the school needs to ensure that the materials are more accessible to their students. 

Wilson, and other schools, need to take that into account and provide those materials in an easily accessible way for students. This could be a tampon vending machine in the bathrooms or a small bin in each stall with pads and tampons. Either of these would be simple solutions that would allow students to continue learning even if they do get their period during school.

The interesting and somewhat ironic thing about this request is that, as we all know, Wilson is not known for providing basic materials. These have historically included paper, soap, and paper towels. While this is not necessarily the administration’s fault and could be instead attributed to a lack of funding and respect for those materials, it is still a reality. So is asking them to provide menstrual products really reasonable? I think it is. 

This is a prevalent issue that affects people worldwide and exacerbates the sexist mindset that seems to surround us. Providing menstrual products in school restrooms to all students who need them would show a level of respect and understanding on the part of our administration for the everyday issues that their students face. •