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Access to menstrual products enables students to address their health needs and fully participate in school without shame or difficulty, but students living in poverty often lack this access. While nothing prohibits a school from providing menstrual products to students free of charge, many school leaders are unaware of the disparate access to these items, the negative impact the disparity has on access to education, and the low-cost solution.

There is no federally collected data on the prevalence of this lack of access—sometimes called period poverty—in U.S. schools. But an independent survey of menstruating students ages 13 to 19 conducted in 2021 by PERIOD. and Thinx found that nearly one in four students face period poverty. The survey found that lack of product access leads to missed class time, feelings of shame, an distraction from learning. The American Medical Women’s Association, American Medical Association, American College of Physicians, and Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia’s Policy Lab have also cited concerns for lack of affordable access to menstrual products, social stigma surrounding menstrual health, and resulting negative health implications. …


This publication is supported by cooperative agreement CDC-RFA-PS18-1807, funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The contents of this publication are solely the responsibility of the author and do not necessarily represent the official views or endorsement of the CDC or the Department of Health and Human Services.


States Address Access to Menstrual Products in Schools

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