Free menstrual products will help alleviate ‘period poverty’

The Editorial Board

Baruch College’s latest move to stock its 39 women’s bathrooms with free period products is a huge step forward in achieving menstrual equality. 

A 2021 survey by Thinx and PERIOD, a nonprofit organization focused on combating period poverty, revealed that 23% of American students struggle to afford period hygiene products. 

“It becomes a barrier to education,” Democratic State Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia said. In October 2021, Garcia introduced legislation that required California schools in low-income districts to provide free period products. “These are our most vulnerable kids, who already have a lot of barriers. This should not be one of them.”

A single box of pads or tampons costs anywhere between $7 to $10 across the United States. Free period products will help alleviate the economic strain placed on low-income female students on a monthly basis. 

This issue is especially pressing to lower-income students and students of color. The “State of the Period” report found that 23% of Hispanic students were at some point forced to choose between buying period products or food and clothing, compared to 16% of all surveyed teenagers. 

Lack of access to menstrual supplies can also negatively impact academic performance, leading students to miss class due to pain from menstrual cramps or fear of visible leakage. 

Students that need access to period supplies experience a disadvantage compared to non-menstruating peers, who enjoy bathrooms stocked with everything they need — toilet paper and hand soap. But this disparity will soon be a thing of the past. 

“Menstrual products are essential items we need to manage our health and manage our productivity,” Jennifer Weiss-Wolf, vice president for development of the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU Law, said

By helping to alleviate “period poverty,” Baruch is also investing in improved educational outcomes for students suffering from lack of access to menstrual supplies.