Students Advocate for Equal Access to Feminine Care Products
Students in Women’s Society saw a need for equal access to feminine care products among their peers. They say it has been an ongoing issue. If a girl was in need of a product they needed to ask their teacher for a pass to the nurse’s office and then wait in line during class time to use a bathroom. It was taking a lot of time away from their learning. After visiting other schools, the girls noticed free dispensers in the women’s bathrooms and decided that was something they wanted to bring to South St. Paul.
Solving the Problem
The group of young women, Faith, Renata, Queen, Olivia, A’niyah, and Yohanna brought the issue to Superintendent Zambreno who got them in touch with the Assistance League.
A’niyah says, “It was a struggle to get access to period products. We really wanted to make it accessible for everyone to easily get what they need on a daily basis and for emergencies.”
Before meeting with the Assistance League the girls did their research. They conducted studies amongst their female peers to learn more about the issue and to see what types and brands were preferred. They looked at pricing for the preferred products and figured out the quantity needed for the rest of the school year. The girls then presented their research and struggles to a group of women from the Assistance League.
Olivia says, “They were understanding and really wanted to help. The products started arriving at the school pretty quick after that.”
They met with the Assistance league shortly before winter break. By mid-January, dispensers and feminine care products were installed in the main bathrooms at the high school.
Feedback from their peers has only been positive. They say girls were posting stories on their social media showing off the new dispensers. Female students say how grateful they are to have easy access to the products at school.
Queen says, “Girls have told us they feel more comfortable needing to use the bathroom, especially when they have a male teacher. It could be awkward at times telling them why you need to see the nurse.”
Renata says, “It’s made things easier for students and teachers, we no longer have to miss a lot of class time to wait in line at the nurse.”
The success of the free dispensers in the main bathrooms has inspired the young women to think bigger. They’re hoping to use this year to get a process in place, recruit more students to get involved, and continue the partnership with the Assistance League in the future.
School Board Chair John Raasch says, “These students have something to be proud of. They made real changes in their school and it’s really remarkable.”
The Women’s Society would like to see dispensers in all of the bathrooms at the high school. There are already plans in place to have the dispensers installed in the Middle School.