VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – There’s a new push for feminine hygiene products to be free at all public schools across the province.
Douglas College professor Selina Tribe is suggesting tampons and pads be made available, and free.
“We don’t require boys to carry toilet paper with them, so it’s an issue of supporting girls as much as we support boys for normal bodily functions,” Tribe adds. “Tampons and pads, having access to them is as essential as toilet paper for a normal bodily function that affects half the population.”
She says most schools have dispensaries, but most of them charge students.
“We know that girls if they can’t manage their periods properly they will remove themselves from activities, from extracurricular or athletic activities, also social activities, and in the worst case, they will actually miss school if they cannot manage their period.”
Tribe says she has pitched the idea to the New Westminster School Board.
“It’s a question of basic fairness and gender equity. We put a lot more time and energy thinking about costs and the comfort of guys,” adds Mark Gifford who is on the school board.
In terms of costs, Tribe calculates it would cost schools less than a $1 per student after the second year of installing the machines.
A university in Ontario actually found it cheaper to hand them in for free than charge for them.
“When you look at it as something where you have to actually collect money from, deposit the money, purchase the product and you had to have all managed by its own contract, the actual cost impact of supplying them free is a lot less than you would think,” adds Shannon Brooks with Centennial College in Ontario.
The New Westminster School Board says they should make a decision within the next few months.
Meanwhile, Tribe is encouraging parents to contact to contact their local school boards or local city councillors to push for the idea.