Opinion | It’s about Time, LAUSD Distributes Free Period Products!


Credits: Bryce Airgood

Period Product Dispenser: Photo in East Lansing Hall

Disclaimer: The following is an Opinion Piece from The Echo’s Editorial Section. An opinion piece is one in which a writer expresses a firmly developed opinion that is supported by study, reasoning, and circumstantial evidence. It’s a writer’s approach to expressing both what they believe and why they believe it. As a result, any opinions stated in by-lined editorials reflect the author’s views, not the administration or student body of GALA.

Have you ever had a really bad day and suddenly get your period with no products on hand? Yeah, we have all been there. There’s a tentative solution on the horizon though: free period product dispensers!

That’s right! No more whispers to your friend, asking for a pad or tampon, or going to the main office. Just recently, California enacted The Menstrual Equity for All Act of 2021. This law requires all California public schools and colleges to stock their restrooms with free menstrual products.

Starting this 2022-2023 school year, public schools, as mandated, should maintain inclusive school restrooms that offer an adequate supply of free and accessible menstrual products in all women’s restrooms, as well as all-gender restrooms, and at least one men’s restroom.

In addition to all 6-12 schools carrying menstrual products, California universities and community colleges should also carry and supply menstrual products that are free, available, and accessible on their campus. In a direct statement, Assemblywoman Christina Garcia (leader of the bill) said, “California recognizes that access to menstrual products is a basic human right. California has an interest in promoting gender equity, not only for women and girls, but also for transgender men, nonbinary, and gender nonconforming people who may also menstruate and experience inequities resulting from lack of access to menstrual products.”

This law is based on Democratic Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia’s Assembly Bill 10 passed in 2017. Bill 10 required schools in low-income and disadvantaged communities to supply students with free pads and tampons. Garcia said her efforts were inspired by Scotland, which became the first nation to allow free and universal access to pads and tampons in public facilities.

Well, what now?

The Menstrual Equity for All Act is California’s most recent effort to achieve “menstrual equity” in the state. We can only hope that other states will follow California’s lead and continue to press for menstrual equity for all people who menstruate. As for now, all we can do is persist in this fight. If you want to get involved, seek out organizations in your local area. I wish you the best of luck!