FSA holds menstrual product drive to help teens

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Zoey Robinson

One of the FSA’s collection boxes offers period products to Southern Lehigh Students.

Zoey Robinson, Staff Reporter

Southern Lehigh’s Feminist Student Association (FSA) addressed the problem of “period poverty” through their menstrual product drive this winter. As our school’s budget continues to be pushed and stretched, students like the club’s president, sophomore Madelyn Loghmani, look to provide easier options for all students in need of hygiene products. 

“We are running the tampon drive to help stock the girls’ bathrooms in the school because not a lot of people feel comfortable going to the nurse,” Loghmani said. “It’s often on the other side of the building… sometimes you don’t feel like going all the way over when you’re having an actual emergency.”

Access to these resources often goes overlooked in households and schools unaware of period poverty. A 2021 survey at St. Louis University reported that 46% of low income women couldn’t afford monthly hygiene products along with necessary groceries. 

Most females have their period from age 12 to 52. That means that many have a menstrual cycle for around 40 years, and a study by SWNS Digital Media revealed that they spend an average of $13.25 dollars on products each month. This amounts to around $6,360, an expense that not everyone can afford. 

Tampon tax adds to the cost in 22 out of 50 states in the US. This tax applies to the sale of menstrual products, and, in most applicable states, it is around 4.7% to 10% as of 2019. In Pennsylvania, feminine hygiene products have not been charged with a separate tax since 1991. They are currently taxed on the same level of toiletries.

Feminine hygiene products at Southern Lehigh High School are available in the school nurse’s office as a result of the budget approved before each school year by the administration. Judith Miller, a middle school nurse noted how misuse in the middle school led faculty to limit access to the nurse’s office alone. 

Students like senior Amanda Weissman, agree that as a school we should be making sure that the bathrooms are stocked up.

“In the past there wasn’t much access to feminine hygiene products in our school. But we are starting to make a significant change in giving access to everyone by having a variety of supplies in the bathroom,” Weissman said. “Making sure every student has access to feminine hygiene products is so important.”

Colorfully decorated boxes are found in each women’s restroom, filled with almost every type of period product available. FSA hopes to continue the drive annually, and plans on ending collections in late March. Members proudly state that they have exceeded their collection goal for 2023.