Demanding Free Menstrual Products in Oregon Schools
Oregon State Legislature
We, as PERIOD Eugene and the Oregon PERIOD coalition (PERIOD @ HRVHS and PERIOD @ Century HS) are acting as representatives for #FREETHEPERIOD in Oregon. We call on the Oregon Legislature to mandate the provision of free menstrual hygiene products in all public K-12, college, and university restrooms in the state.
PERIOD is the largest youth-run NGO in women’s health in the world. We provide and celebrate menstrual hygiene through service, education, and policy — through the global distribution of period products to those in need, and engagement of youth leadership through a nationwide network of campus chapters. In the last three years, we have addressed almost 1 Million periods and have registered over 700 campus chapters at universities and high schools in the United States and abroad.
Oregon State Legislature
From: [Your Name]
Pads and tampons are necessities, just like toilet paper, and need to be provided as such. Currently, menstrual products are not provided statewide in school restrooms, reinforcing economic and social injustice onto your most vulnerable citizens and constituents. This lack of access creates educational barriers for menstruators, forcing them to divert excessive time, energy, and money their families may not have to aid their needs. Menstrual hygiene products are not a privilege and access needs to be a right for all menstruating students.
1 in 5 menstruators in the United States cannot afford the price of pads and tampons every month. Among those menstruators are the students that attend Oregon's public educational institutions, who may be subject to ridicule and shame from their peers because of their lack of access to sanitary products. According to a joint survey by Thinx and PERIOD The Menstrual Movement, 1 in 4 teens have missed class due to a lack of access to period products. It becomes a choice of attending class and facing stigma or simply staying home to deal with their lack of products in a private space.
But, this is not just about shame, and with high rates of homelessness and poverty among teenagers, it is critical that schools in Oregon create a space where young menstruators feel safe and cared for. Oregon’s population makes up only about 1.3 percent of the United States’ total population, yet our state is home to 2.6 percent of the nation’s total homeless population. Additionally, as of 2019, 15.1% of Oregon kids under 18 were living under the poverty line, and 11.1% of Oregon families were food insecure on average. If a student can not afford food they certainly cannot afford an $8.99 box of tampons as an added expense every month. Not providing menstrual hygiene products is only working to counteract a goal we hope our lawmakers have, which is to make sure all students, regardless of socioeconomic or menstruation status, are provided an equitable start through this state’s education to the graduation and successful future they can achieve.
Not only does having menstrual hygiene products in schools create a culture of acceptance and show menstruators that they are valued by the public education institutions they attend, but it changes the lives of the student menstruators who are homeless or low income. They would be given the ability to live their school lives as equals with their other peers, and not as afterthoughts. It is time Oregon makes progress and follows in the footsteps of California, Illinois, New Hampshire, New York, and the countless other states soon to implement such change.
There is an undeniable and urgent need for free, accessible menstrual products in school restrooms in Oregon. When over half of this state’s student population includes female, transgender, and non-binary individuals who are forced to face challenges non-menstruators do not have to deal with in a school setting, it is clear there is an issue. Sign our petition and join #FreeThePeriod in calling on the state of Oregon for menstrual products to be placed in all public K-12, college, and university school restrooms in the state.
All credit to the students and activists leading this movement and pushing for legislative action. Special credit to the #FreeThePeriodCA organization for creating the template for this petition.