How Easy it is to Provide Tampons at Work? This Easy

Buy a 100 pack, put in in the bathroom, repeat when empty

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Providing tampons at work is one of the easiest ways to show care for employees who bleed.

I went to Austin recently and was flabbergasted by the number of public spaces with menstrual products. Not just tampons, but pads, hand sanitizer, and sanitary wipes.

In contrast, I have seldom worked anywhere where employees were provided with menstrual products.

About 26% of the global population menstruates. That’s more than a quarter of the population. It’s highly likely that you have someone on your staff who menstruates. This is a fact most people know—and very few workspaces make accommodations for. Every public space, at some point in the day, will be occupied by someone who menstruates.

So why don’t more public spaces provide menstrual products?

I can’t think of a good answer, but I can think of some shitty one!

First is the cost. Providing menstrual products cost money. But a Google search shows that a 96 pack of tampons cost about $5 more than a 100 pack of coffee lids:

Are the tampons more expensive? Yes. Are you much more likely to go through a pack of coffee lids before you go through a pack of tampons if you operate a cafe or restaurant? Yes. Cost isn’t an issue.

The second reason is stealing. What stops folks from taking a handful of tampons on their way out of the bathroom?

Let’s compare menstrual products to another item that is generally free—mints. You’ve been to restaurants where there’s a bowl of mints at the host stand, open for anyone to grab one or two or twenty. For every joker that tries to steal the entire bowl, most folks can control themselves and take one mint. One joker isn’t enough to stop a restaurant from putting out mints. Stealing is not an issue.

The third point is the actual issue—we don’t care about folks who bleed. We might use points like cost or fear of stealing to justify why menstrual products aren’t more readily available. As we’ve shown, however, these points don’t actually hold up when you analyze them for more than three seconds.

Most folks in power haven’t had to think about providing easy access to menstrual products, so when it does cross their mind, they’re able to rely on these easy (and flawed) arguments.

So many of our employees, our customers, our friends—bleed. It’s maybe the easiest sign of care and consideration to provide menstrual products.

Photo: from the bathroom at Poole’s Diner in Raleigh, North Carolina

So how easy it is? Buy that 96 pack, and set it in your bathroom. Refill when empty. That’s all you need to do. If you’re ambitious, like the folks at Poole’s Diner in Raleigh, North Carolina, provide multiple forms of menstrual products (plus some bobby pins) in your bathrooms. It’s really that easy.

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