Why Access To Free Period Products is Not Enough

Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

I’m sure you’ve read the headlines by now: Scotland became the first country to pass a law making period products free for all in need. As someone who is a leader in the menstrual equity movement, I am thrilled; not just because Scotland passed this monumental law, but really because more people are saying the word “period” in public!

While I agree that period products should be free for all, I don’t think this is enough. There is more crucial work needed to shift the paradigm and make our society more equitable for everyone who menstruates. There needs to be a comprehensive menstrual equity bill, which includes:

  1. Access to SAFE period products (free of toxic, endocrine disrupting chemicals)

Unfortunately, there are still many brands that make products that contain harsh chemicals which have been shown to negatively affect our reproductive health. Furthermore, many of these brands spend $$ marketing in Black and Brown communities.

2. Menstrual education in schools

Menstrual education needs to start in elementary school because studies have shown early puberty is on the rise and many children are getting their periods at earlier ages than our foremothers.

3. Paid menstrual leave

Not only for those who experience debilitating symptoms (cramps, heavy bleeding, fatigue, diarrhea, migraines, etc.), but also for people who just need a freaking day off from work to bleed in peace. Furthermore, policies implemented to prevent discrimination in the workplace due to period leave.

4. And most importantly, increased funding

Philanthropists and lawmakers need to prioritize funding community organizations and youth groups, specifically Black and Brown-led organizations, that promote menstrual equity and support reproductive justice.

Thank you Scotland for making periods a global hot topic, especially on social media outlets, such as The Shade Room. May we continue talking about menstruation and demanding a world that is period positive and supports everyone who menstruates, equitably.

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The Fifth by Love Your Menses is a Medium publication that uplifts the voices of women and people who menstruate, provides a space for people to learn about the menstrual cycle, and encourages everyone who bleeds to flow through life, unapologetically!

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Bria Gadsden

Bria Gadsden

Menstrual Equity Leader | Bria writes to break the period taboo in 500 words or less. Website: www.briagadsden.com Twitter: @BriaGadsden

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