Fighting for Menstrual Equity at Colgate University and Beyond

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OUR GOAL 

Because menstrual products can be expensive, returning to residence halls to retrieve products can prove difficult during/in between classes, and going to local stores to purchase products can be a challenging endeavor for many students, we want to work with Colgate’s administration to provide free menstrual products in ALL women’s and gender neutral bathrooms on campus. Although dispensers providing free tampons and pads are currently present in sixteen bathrooms on campus, this is not enough. Menstrual hygiene products, an expense costing menstruators $150-$300 annually, are NOT luxury items; in fact, they are just as indispensable as toilet paper. Providing these basic products will assist menstruating students in managing their periods so that they can focus their efforts on academic and extracurricular responsibilities. 

In an attempt to find a balance between environmental sustainability and producing menstrual products, we want to switch provided menstrual products to 100% natural cotton and biodegradable tampons and pads with no synthetics, chemicals or dyes, that are better for menstruators and the Earth alike. 

In addition to the aforementioned tangible goal, we hope to also raise awareness on the prevalence and urgency of this issue, educate non-menstruators about what menstruation is and how to best support menstruators, normalize menstruation as a topic as natural as the weather, and create spaces for conversations to destigmatize periods and community engagement

BACKGROUND

According to a national study commissioned by Free The Tampons Foundation, 86% of US women aged 18-54 years have started their period unexpectedly in public without the supplies they needed. Although this study was not tailored to menstruating students in particular, this occurrence is not foreign to the school environment. Schools worldwide, including our very own Colgate University, have an obligation to serve each and every student equitably, ensuring they receive the necessary educational resources, such as restrooms stocked with the necessities to accommodate natural biological needs. One such factor that is as basic as toilet paper but is often overlooked is the availability of menstrual hygiene products. 

Menstrual inequity, a global issue referring to a lack of access to adequate menstrual hygiene products, is a structural crisis affecting menstruating students by interfering with their educational endeavors, and inhibiting their academic success - Colgate is indeed no exception. Insufficient access to adequate menstrual products reduces menstruating individuals’ academic productivity and ability to actively participate in their academic classes and extra curricular activities with dignity and without anxiety, both of which negatively impact their educational achievements. 

CHALLENGES 

  • Lack of financial resources to bring this to fruition 
  • Struggling to secure the institutional resources to make this happen on campus 
  • Need to educate and raise awareness amongst campus community about menstruation and menstrual inequity 

WHAT CAN YOU DO

Sign this petition to demonstrate your support of our goal and the need to address menstrual inequity on campus!