True story: One time, during college, I was so broke I had to steal a box of tampons.
Pretty ridiculous, right? But for something we have no choice but to use, feminine hygiene products are tremendously expensive. Prices vary across the country, of course, but here in NYC, a regular-sized box averages about $10-$15. That's five coffee runs a month, gone.
Fortunately, the state is working to lower the so-called "tampon tax," as is much of the rest of the country. And this week, City Councilwoman Julissa Ferreras-Copeland unveiled a pilot program to outfit 25 Queens and Bronx-area high schools with free tampons.
Free tampons in schools isn't that revolutionary of an idea; almost every school keeps a stash in the nurse's office for "emergencies."
But this program will see free tampon and pad dispensers installed in school bathrooms, giving students access to the items they need when they need them.
The idea was planted after Ferreras-Coplenad had a single dispenser installed at one Queens high school. The response, she says, was overwhelmingly positive, so she decided to launch a full program, giving teen girls immediate access to feminine hygiene products.
The councilwoman chose the 25 schools to test the program in based on the economic stability of the area. She told the New York Daily News,
Girls in these districts face the greatest financial hardships.
Giving teen girls access to free tampons and pads is something all schools should do; it's no different than providing toilet paper, as Refinery 29 notes.
Fortunately, if the program proves successful, it will expand to more high schools throughout the city -- middle schools, too. For the very first time, girls won't have to pay for the burden (and beauty) of being female. And that is pretty incredible.