Everybody bleeds. Half of us bleed monthly. We can’t control it (though we all wish we could), and I’ve yet to meet anyone who enjoys it. But, menstruating on Georgetown’s campus is particularly miserable due to the lack of readily available menstrual products. There are well over sixty buildings on Georgetown’s campus, yet only fifteen buildings have menstrual products available in select bathrooms. There are no indications which bathrooms have products, and even those that “supposedly” have them are often out of products. Not a single dorm on campus has tampon or pad dispensers and some bathrooms on campus do not even provide garbage cans in the stalls to dispose of used tampons or pads.
In a survey distributed around Georgetown’s campus by H*yas For Choice, 95.5% of the 222 Hoyas who responded believed that it was Georgetown’s responsibility to provide menstrual products on campus. 70.3% of Hoyas responded that they found it difficult to acquire products on campus, financially or otherwise. Currently, the only places on campus where you can get tampons or pads are at Vital Vittles and the campus bookstore. The closest CVS is a 15 minute walk. At all of these locations, the price of a single box of tampons ranges between $6.99 and $9.99. Assuming that only one box of the cheapest tampons are used by each person every month, that is $84 a year for every student that menstruates. Being expected to carry around and purchase one’s own menstrual products when in public situations is, at its core, extremely illogical and gendered. Georgetown does not expect its students to buy toilet paper and carry it with them, so why do they expect students to provide their own menstrual products?
Periods aren’t just a women’s issue. Not everybody who gets their period identifies as a woman. Access to these products on campus will not only make getting your period at Georgetown easier, it will destigmatize periods in general. If menstrual products were available in most, if not all, bathrooms, then people who do not identify as cis-gendered will not have to enter a bathroom that doesn’t align with their gender identity to access products which are only available in that bathroom.
In many ways, Georgetown is late to the game in terms of providing products for its students. Brown University started providing free menstrual products in all bathrooms in 2016, including the men’s bathrooms. In 2017, Harvard University began providing products in their freshman dorms. The program was so successful that they expanded it to some upperclassmen dorms in 2018. Earlier this year, Yale University announced that they would provide menstrual products in their dorms. These three universities are only a few of the countless that have begun to open up access to menstrual products on their campus.
It is Georgetown’s responsibility to provide menstrual products to their students. Georgetown should supply period hygiene products in all women’s and gender neutral bathrooms on campus, and at least one clearly designated men’s bathroom per building on campus. Georgetown needs to practice what it preaches: cura personalis, period.