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For most women on campus, periods are just a monthly inconvenience. You get a pad or a tampon, and move on with the cycle. However, for low-income women, what some erroneously consider a “luxury item,” these women consider it another expensive necessity.
Now thanks to the “tampon tax,” pads and tampons can be an even bigger burden for low-income communities. In addition, there is no federal or state-level assistance, nor coverage under health insurance, to make pads and tampons cheaper and more accessible.
The club Notre Dames has decided to tackle this international dilemma with its Code Red Collection.
“[We] thought the drive could be a great way to support women within our local community as well as spread awareness of this often-unnoticed, but serious issue,” Dames president Alison Leddy says.
But the drive is more than collecting feminine hygiene products; it also wants to tackle on the stigma attached to menstruation.
“We want people to think about the stigma associated with periods, and the consequences of our unwillingness to address this topic.” Leddy says. “If we as a society refuse to acknowledge the realities of menstruation, then we cannot address the problems that arise.”
Despite half the U.S. population having periods within their lifetime, there is still inadequate education, research and understanding about this biological process.
“We hope that the drive will serve as an opportunity for people to educate themselves better on menstruation and the challenges that can follow, especially for those in low-income communities,” Leddy says.
The project also aligns with the overall mission of Notre Dames: to strengthen the female voice on campus and to bring awareness to issues that affect women. The club hosts an informal discussion titled Talk It Out Tuesdays open to anyone each Tuesday night from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. discussing topics anywhere from dorm culture to national issues.
“Within Dames, we recognize how much we take feminine hygiene products for granted,” Leddy notes. This past Tuesday, Leddy led a Talk It Out Tuesday discussing the stigma associated to periods.
If you’re interested in contributing to the Code Red Drive, drop off donations for the coming week are 7 to 9 p.m. by the Dooley Room in LaFortune and 2 to 4 p.m. in the Elevator Lobby of Lafortune this Tuesday and Thursday. Monetary donations are also accepted, along with feminine hygiene products. The Dames are also happy to pick up donations from dorms for those who can’t make those times. Just send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org!
Images: provided by interviewee