We are applauding a Washington teen who just got free pads and tampons at her school for any student who needs them.
14-year old Cordelia Longo battled with pesky tampon/pad dispensing machines that didn’t work to the point where she decided she’d had enough.
Teen Vogue reports that Longo created a petition to her school’s administration, asking them to stock free menstrual supplies in bathrooms. She wrote,
“Why are tissues and toilet paper provided free at school, but not sanitary pads and tampons? As toilet paper and tissue are used for normal bodily functions, sanitary pads and tampons are also necessary to address normal bodily functions that happen naturally. The only difference is that only girls need pads. Girls do not choose to have periods. So girls are being penalized and made to pay for a bodily function they cannot control.”
While she waited for a response, she created mini baskets of supplies and stocked them in her school’s bathrooms.
Said Cordelia’s mother Jennifer,
“You would never ask boys to walk across campus with diarrhea in their pants then go look in the locker room. Why do they charge for something that’s akin to toilet paper? They don’t charge for toilet paper and make them walk across campus for some secret room.”
100 students and teachers signed Longo’s petition, and the school agreed to fully stock dispensers and no longer charge students for the supplies.
Thank goodness for young activists like Cordelia for seeing something that needed changing, and working to enact the needed changes.
Nothing can take away our pride for Cordelia, but at the same time, how sad is it that this is a still fight we need to have?
The period stigma is very real, and it seems ludicrous that we need to pay for menstrual supplies in public restrooms. As Cordelia pointed out, toilet paper and tissues are free. So why not pads and tampons? I mean, we know it’s because of gender discrimination and the stigma against periods, but it’s truly mind boggling.
But in light of this, we are so glad that Cordelia raised this issue in her own school, and brought light to this matter that is as relevant as ever.