ALABAMA (WHNT) — “Period Poverty” is a real thing, and while it may be an uncomfortable topic to talk about for some, for others, it’s a real-life struggle.
Now, thanks to student-led efforts, two of the state’s largest universities are making that struggle a little easier for students with free period products being offered across both campuses.
Dispensers with feminine hygiene products have been installed in bathrooms and student centers since the start of this school year. The goal, for now, is to put the items in select buildings across campus to see how many pads and tampons are used.
Governor Kay Ivey signed a bill into law earlier this year to establish a grant program to fund free feminine hygiene products in Title I K-12 schools, which was also the result of efforts led by students in Montgomery.
Students and homeless women are the most at risk of period poverty, which can lead to affected students missing classes.
In a 2019 survey of 693 women attending high schools in America, 24% of students said they left school early due to a lack of access to feminine hygiene products, while another 13% said they wouldn’t attend classes at all.
The “Pink Tax” is still a thing in Alabama, one of 26 states to still tax pads and tampons, which some say has only made it harder for those struggling to access the products. Programs like SNAP do not cover the cost of the items, either.
According to our news partners at AL.com, funds for the grants will come from the Office of Inclusion and Diversity and Facilities Management for Auburn’s campus, while the University of Alabama has received a grant from the Alabama Power Foundation.