City, School District to Improve Public Menstrual Product Access
Council President Pro Tem Elizabeth Brown and Columbus City Schools Superintendent and CEO Dr. Talisa Dixon have announced a collaborative effort to expand public menstrual product access, by providing them in school restrooms. The City will also increase menstrual products access at recreation centers and municipal buildings around Columbus, starting Downtown.
Columbus non-profit Free the Tampons held a national study, in which it found that 86 percent of women have started their periods while out in public and without the supplies they need. Lack of menstrual product access is also a health issue: Product overuse can lead to the introduction of unhealthy bacteria, and/or a life-threatening condition called toxic shock syndrome.
The school district has begun a pilot program at the Columbus City Preparatory School for Girls, where a half dozen free dispensers have been installed in restrooms. In the restrooms are also signs and messaging that encourages students with questions about their cycle to talk with a school nurse.
“We always strive to eliminate barriers to academic success for our students, and this program speaks to those ongoing efforts,” said Dr. Dixon. “While we have made menstrual products available to girls in the nurse’s office for quite some time, this new pilot program [has] made them even more accessible and more convenient.”
“We’re taking critical steps forward in the effort to improve menstrual product access and to fight the stigma that has for too long precluded a conversation about a basic need experienced by half our population,” said President Pro Tem Brown. “Can you think of any restroom outside your home where you are expected to bring a roll of toilet paper with you into the stall? Unlikely. Menstrual products should be no different.”
For more information, visit columbus.gov/council.