Free Period Products vs. Free Condoms in High Schools

Periods: that inevitable, obnoxious week of the month for every female. This out-of-the-blue occurrence isn’t one most look forward to. While all MCPS high schools provide one-size complimentary period products to females who need them, no two periods are the same. The health room offers pads with regular absorbency. No tampons. No range of options. So, why don’t schools offer more inclusive period products?

Period products are expensive and quality period products are even more so. But, there’s another investment that’s taking up the budget: complimentary condoms. You can’t avoid periods, but you can definitely avoid sex. Why split the budget between a necessity and a convenience?

Period products are expensive for three main reasons: demand, a luxury tax, and the pink tax. A luxury tax is a tax on all items that aren’t considered essentials. Apparently, pads and tampons (items any female would consider necessary) aren’t considered essential. The pink tax, another added cost, is levied only on women for specific products. These added costs mean that a school’s budget would need to use the money spent on condoms to provide these quality products.

Why provide a generous amount of condoms when the majority of students don’t and won’t use them? Senior Joseph Wray says, “You would never see [students] go to the [nurse’s] office to ask for a condom.”  While school nurse Nikki Eyman says the health room averages four students coming in for condoms per month, there are females struggling with the inconveniences of periods every day and others who can’t afford enough products to last a whole cycle. Why add stress to their current situations?

Having more inclusive period products available to females will make them feel more comfortable and sanitary. One of the worst things is to start your period and not have any protection with you. It happens. Being able to feel confident that you can go to the school nurse who will have a product that is right for you and your situation is a weight lifted off girls’ shoulders. No need to worry about leaks or stains or embarrassing moments that haunt us. During high school, a stressful, messy, and emotional time, the last thing a female needs is a reason to panic over an easily avoidable situation.

No female deserves to feel crappy about getting her period, and no female should be uncomfortable because of it. Providing more sizes and varieties of period products won’t only do the obvious and help stop accidents, it will help lower stress about periods in general.