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Tampons are always on sale

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Last month, an anonymous student left a shopping bag full of sanitary products in the second-floor bathroom of the Humanities building. Kind words and phrases were left on the bag such as, “Thank you, sisters!” and “Girls have to stick together- ALWAYS!” As thoughtful and generous as this unnamed donor must have been, should MC’s female students have to resort to the kindness of strangers to tend to biological processes they can’t control?

Periods are a natural biological process that women can do very little to manipulate or control. Aside from various methods of birth control, which are even less accessible than pads and tampons, there is nothing a girl can do to stop her period. While periods may not seem so debilitating to some, according to the Education for Global Development, via the World Bank, 1 in 10 girls in sub-Saharan African countries like Sierra Leone miss school every month because of lack of access to sanitary products.

While Rockville, MD is strikingly different from sub-Saharan Africa in terms of access to female health products, are pads and tampons really as accessible as they should be here on campus?

After checking over 15 bathrooms in the Science Center, library, Humanities building and the cafeteria, I could find no bathrooms that offered machines that dispensed tampons for a quarter or two like you might find in a public bathroom. The Advocate’s own Isabel Rockwood wrote about the student senate, who last year placed bowls of free condoms throughout various bathrooms on the MC campus. Although the student senate was not working on behalf of the school itself, they did receive the condoms from the health and P.E. departments and were given permission by the director of student life to leave them in bathrooms, according to Rockwood.

Could the same experiment be conducted with tampons and pads instead? After all, sex is a choice—periods are not.

In the MC bookstore, they sell a two-pack of tampons for $1.98 (a reasonable price.) But put it like this—I’m a student at MC struggling with poverty. I can barely afford my books, a calculator, my own bills and a meager meal for myself in between classes—do I really have $2 left over for tampons? Maybe, but maybe not.

Free pads and tampons would alleviate the financial stress for impoverished females students at MC if even just a little.

In high school, when I had an emergency, I would visit the nurse’s office where there were always feminine products if I needed them. The female students at Montgomery College may not have the same option, however. Marcus Rosano, the Media Relations Director, said, “We don’t actually have a nurse’s office! Basically, it’s the office of public safety who act where an injury or sickness occurs.”

It is no question that the faculty of Montgomery College cares deeply about the well-being of their students, as is evident in the many resources provided to students both on and off campus. Hopefully, in the near future, pads and tampons will be one of those resources.

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Tampons are always on sale