New Legislation Increases Access to Menstrual Products

As+per+the+Menstrual+Equity+Act%2C+schools+now+provide+free+menstrual+products+in+all+bathrooms+and+locker+rooms.+

Mr. Micheletto

As per the Menstrual Equity Act, schools now provide free menstrual products in all bathrooms and locker rooms.

Braden Murphy, Scribe Reporter

With the passing of the Menstrual Equity for All Act of 2021, US educational institutions are now required to provide free menstrual products to combat the rising period poverty crisis. 

The Act seeks to address “the barriers to academic success faced by many college and graduate students due to the inability of such students to afford to purchase menstrual products;  and the unique set of burdens that college and graduate students experiencing period poverty face that can be compounded by lack of access to basic needs such as housing, food, transportation, and access to physical and mental health services.”

When Congresswoman Grace Meng first proposed the equity act on May 26, 2019, the act gained rapid attention. With many across America agreeing with the passing of the law, it did not take long for the Menstrual Equity act to be approved and signed by state governors. On August 13, 2021, Illinois governor JB Pritzker signed for menstrual dispensaries to be implemented into school locker rooms and bathrooms, effective no later than one year after its signed date. 

“Given the high price of menstrual products, such as pads and tampons, it’s no wonder that many women below the poverty line have had to sacrifice,” stated Governor Pritzker. “Today, we’re reducing the burden of period poverty and making those very difficult personal choices a little bit rarer in Illinois”

A lack of menstrual products is a leading factor of depression in teens as 25% of college students who need menstrual products have admitted to at some point not being able to afford necessary items. This issue ignited the Menstrual Equity for All act in which many locations, such as in federal prisons, homeless shelters, and federal buildings are required to provide products free of charge. 

Additionally, the Menstrual Equity for All act of 2021 now requires products to be made available in both girls and boys bathrooms and locker rooms. The decision to include the boys bathrooms was made to better suit the needs of those who need tampons but cannot get them from the girls locker rooms and bathrooms. This decision sparked joy, irritation, and confusion within the community as menstrual dispensary machines were quickly implemented into boys bathrooms.

“I think that it can help transgender and nonbinary students who have to use the boys locker room and bathroom and can help students who are not able to afford tampons or find the time to buy them,” stated sophomore Rohan Kumar 

“It is important to provide free access to tampons and pads in whatever spaces students need them,” said wellness teacher Kelli Mallas. 

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