Menstruation takes on public bathrooms

We need to normalize menstrual products and consistently provide basic necessities for women. School bathrooms are a great place to start out, but going forward we need more recognition and compensation in all restrooms, especially public places.

If we provide toilet paper without expense in public restrooms, there should be menstrual products provided as well. Imagine someone having to pay every time they go to the bathroom just because they had too much water or ate too much food in one sitting. That is how we feel when we have to spend money on something we have no control over.

Although menstrual products used to be 25 cents or more in public and school restrooms, laws have recently passed that now allow tampon and pad dispensers to be free. Cristina Garcia, a California Assembly member, filed an assembly bill on October 8, 2021 which entailed that schools with a 40% pupil poverty level require menstrual products in all women’s and gender neutral restrooms; absent of charge.

In the event of getting your period, women often have to reach into their purse or backpack and make their way to the nearest restroom during an emergency. However, on the occasion of getting your period in a public place with the absence of a tampon or pad in possession, we are forced to ask someone else if they are willing to lend us one.

So what happens if there is no one else and you do not have spare change for period dispensers in the restroom? Well, we can only hope that no one will see, and that is why having free period products in public restrooms, especially schools, will tremendously benefit someone’s experiences.

As more and more menstrual products become available for free, there have been numerous occasions where the dispensers have even run out of products at our own NPHS girl’s restroom. Due to the machines becoming available in bathrooms as of two weeks ago, the nearly immediate loss of period products demonstrates the sheer need for these machine’s presence in school bathrooms.

Thankfully, young girls who are just now starting their period will not have to conform under the stigma of secretly grabbing pads from bags and quietly opening them in public restrooms in fear of being judged. By normalizing period products in public restrooms, feelings of shame or embarrassment towards menstrual cycles can be limited and young women can even gain a sense of community due to the realization that they are all going through the same things in everyday life.