The Case for Free Tampons and Pads in Schools

The sinks and mirrors in a dimly lit school bathroom

In 2021, California passed a bill to ensure public schools and colleges stock free pads and tampons in restrooms. Now, activists are looking to address period poverty–when someone can’t afford to access menstrual products, clean and sanitary facilities, or accurate information about menstruation–across the United States.

“Right now, there is little national data about teenagers’ access to menstrual products. But what little information there is suggests the lack of access is worse for poor students. The only publicly available study tracking the impact of period poverty among U.S. teenage students, which was funded by PERIOD and Thinx, found that 23 percent of students have struggled to afford period products.”