Updated: Oct 17, 2019
Menstrual products will now be provided by the ASU at no cost.
By Aimee Martinez, Valley Life Editor
The ASU office will soon be offering free sanitary napkins and tampons to any students in need.
The idea was pitched by ASU Commissioner of Student Life Maricela Garcia after a student informed her that the health office was only allowing one sanitary napkin or tampon per day. The Code Pink program was therefore proposed and approved for $550 to supply women with a small plastic bag of three sanitary napkins or tampons. Students can get them twice a month.
Students would sign in with their student ID and specify whether they needed either a tampon or a sanitary napkin. As of right now, these products are not available in the health office, but are sold in the student store. Code Pink is set to take effect a month from now.
“The goal is to provide women with three for each day and be able to continue their education,” said Commissioner Garcia. “I just want to make sure that female students are not limited to one pad.”
On average, women go through about five to six tampons per day. According to the Washington Post, women in California pay $7 per month for 40 years of these tampons and sanitary napkins.
Over the years, concern over the accessibility of these feminie hygiene products has grown. In order to aid low income students, many menstrual activists, such as the founders of Period Equity, have pushed against the issues of the tampon tax—the sales tax on menstrual products — and period poverty — the inability to afford sanitary products, menstrual hygiene education, toilets, hand washing facilities and waste management.
Period Equity describes themselves as a “legal organization dedicated to ensuring accessible, affordable and safe menstrual products.” In 2015, they partnered with Cosmopolitan to challenge the tampon tax. Since then, eleven states have already eliminated the tax, including Connecticut, New York and Massachusetts. California has temporarily exempted the tax for two years and Ohio repealed their sales tax on tampons and other hygiene products last Friday.
Earlier this year, groups of menstrual equity advocates, brought together by The United for Access campaign, wrote a letter to U.S. Secretary of Education Nancy Devos.
"Menstrual hygiene products are basic necessities, and the inability to access them affects a student's freedom to study, be healthy and participate in society with dignity," wrote the groups.
Next semester, Garcia will be working on the period drive to spread social awareness of the issue.
“I think [Code Pink] is a good thing,” said psychology major, Daisy Negrete. “It’s something not a lot of places do. There’s probably a good portion of girls that are on their period that can’t afford these things.”