Inflated prices for menstrual products prompts Student Government to take action

Higher prices for menstrual products leave FAU students in need of more, causing SG to plan more initiatives.

The+Women+and+Gender+Equity+Resource+Center+%28WGERC%29%2C+located+in+room+224+on+the+second+floor+of+the+Breezeway%2C+provides+free+resources+involving+sexual+health.

Celina Detwiler Gray

The Women and Gender Equity Resource Center (WGERC), located in room 224 on the second floor of the Breezeway, provides free resources involving sexual health.

Kayla Die, Contributing Writer

Florida Atlantic University’s Student Government (SG) plans to implement menstrual products in both the library and dormitories by Spring 2023.

On Nov. 18, SG passed two bills that will have “one to provide menstrual products in the residential halls and another to provide the same products to the library,” according to House Speaker Dylan Hobbs-Fernie. 

Vania Bocage, member of the Boca Raton House of Representatives, is aware of the calls for menstrual products in the dorms. She supports placing more stations on campus.

“It’d be easier [and] accessible for students that live on campus to have them in their residential homes. That’d be the only thing I would change,” said Bocage.

The prices of menstrual products have risen since the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Nielsen Health and Beauty’s data. Prices of cotton balls were up 8.2% and gauze pads were up 7.8% through May 28.

These circumstances have inconvenienced FAU students, some of whom are now aware of how sorely needed the products are on campus.

Haley Dockendorff, a sophomore majoring in communication studies, said the changes are very apparent with how there has been a noticeable increase in prices over the course of two years.

Students can get free tampons at the Women and Gender Equity Resource Center, located in room 224 on the second floor of the Breezeway. (Celina Detwiler Gray)

During the pandemic, supply chain issues stretched raw materials thin, especially cotton, plastic and rayon — which are important for manufacturing tampons.

The same cotton used for tampons were also put into masks and other medical products due to an increased demand when the pandemic hit the United States. 

As a result, there was a nationwide shortage of tampons. With a low supply and a high demand for these menstrual products, the prices increased.

The prices for a box of organic tampons was costing more than $10 when I used to pay less for it,” said Sophia Garcia, a sophomore majoring in studio arts.

The change in pricing created some fear among women regarding the products they were able to buy and where they were able to buy it. 

Dockendorff worries that due to the price increase, women will have to buy non-organic products over organic ones which can harm their bodies. Garcia also worried about switching products and having to use them for long periods of time in terms of her health. 

“I definitely had to change to non-organic products because the pricing became a bit too high,” said Garcia.

Dockendorff recalled she not only had to deal with the cost of the products but also the very few available options. 

“So it was just really frustrating to have it be so expensive and yet I can only pick from so many options,” said Dockendorff.

Some women, being conscious of where they get their products in terms of ethics and environmental impact, now have to be less selective. Dockendorff explains it’s easy to feel discouraged over what she can and can’t buy. Her advice to women with similar struggles is to not feel guilty. 

While most individuals buy feminine products in small packages, staff at the Women and Gender Equity Resource Center (WGERC) buy them in bulk. Elena Steinhaus, Assistant Director of the Center, claims that staff have not experienced pricing changes for that reason.

I don’t see much of a difference in terms of pricing,” Steinhaus wrote in an email. “In fact, my one colleague said she could not even recall noticing a change in price when ordering.”

Concerning change on campus, Garcia wants an approach like National Organization for Women (NOW), where the school would donate menstrual products to others who need them, similar to NOW’s menstrual product movement.

Dockendorff wishes for easy accessibility for all. For her, it’s not only about the pricing but also about urgency. If a student needs something they have no control over, they should be able to find it. 

“Maybe it’s a little unreasonable to do every single bathroom, but if they could have a designated space where we could go about that stuff in every building, that would be amazing,” said Dockendorff.

Kayla Die is a contributing writer with the University Press. For information regarding this or other stories, email [email protected]