Sunday, September 15, 2019

Why Menstrual Hygiene Products Should Be Provided for Free in Restrooms

Check out Elizabeth Montano's prize-winning article from the U. Miami Law Review on the "bring your own tampon" policy and human rights.  As she says, no one expects to have to carry their own personal toilet paper with them at all times.  Why is it any different with tampons?

Here's the article abstract, posted on SSRN:

"Like toilet paper, menstrual hygiene products, such as tampons and pads, are necessities for managing natural and unavoidable bodily functions. However, menstrual hygiene products widely receive separate treatment in restrooms across the globe. While it would be absurd today to carry a roll of toilet paper at all times, it is considered necessary and common sense for all menstruators to carry menstrual hygiene products at all times, for approximately forty years, in case of an emergency. This is the “Bring Your Own Tampon” (“BYOT”) policy and it is a violation of human rights and equal protection. This Note seeks to answer four questions: (1) what is the history and impact of the BYOT policy?; (2) what progress has been made in ending the BYOT policy?; (3) what are the risks and benefits of ending the BYOT policy?; and (4) why are menstrual hygiene products, unlike toilets and toilet paper, considered luxuries instead of necessities? In addressing these questions, this Note analyzes two movements in the United States and their implications on human rights and equal protection: (1) the movement to end pay toilets and (2) the movement to end the BYOT policy. Based on this analysis, this Note posits that the BYOT policy is a violation of human rights and equal protection and needs to be flushed out across the globe."

One tampon issue that has started receiving legislative attention is the tampon tax.  For more background, see this recent article on US Policymaking to Address Menstruation by Jennifer Weiss-Wolf of the Brennan Center. 

The Columbia Law School will be hosting a Tampon Tax LAB from September 20-22, with the goal of developing a legal strategy to take on this one part of the discriminatory tampon regime.  More information is available here.

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