By: Avery Phillips
As of December 1st 2021, Cary High students have access to free femine hygiene products provided at school—all thanks to the IDEA club.
Through their feminine hygiene project, IDEA club set up boxes of period products throughout bathrooms in the 2000 and 3000 buildings on Cary High’s campus. Any student in need can now access free feminine hygiene products without having to ask a friend, teacher, or the front office. Furthermore, the availability of feminine hygiene products around campus grants students access to pads and tampons without the burden of a high price. In North Carolina, tampons, pads, and menstrual cups are classified as “non-essential” and “luxury” items, taxing them at 4.75%. Individual cities have the power to raise this tax up to 7.75%. “We took the project on because we wanted to help students feel more comfortable at school,” Anna Routh, an IDEA club officer, stated. She continues by communicating that, “Whether someone forgot to bring products, or if buying products is a financial burden, the bins serve to do what schools should already be doing: provide pads and tampons as they do with other essentials such as toilet paper, soap, and paper towels.”
To bring their project to life, the IDEA club reached out to Mandy Roylance, Cary High’s treasurer of the PTSA, who was supportive of their idea and donated bins for the club to use. IDEA club officer Emerson Phillips comments that “Mrs. Roylance and Mrs. Stevens, our club advisor, have been so helpful throughout this whole process. From helping us find the best materials for the bins to spreading the word throughout school, we couldn’t have done it without them.” The IDEA club asked for donations through the morning announcements and Cary High students assisted in providing pads and tampons to help the project transpire. The club also shared their mission with various feminine hygiene organizations, and Playtex Sport generously donated 368 pads and tampons to be made available to students.
Aside from providing period products, IDEA club aims to bring forth a meaningful change through this project. “Beyond having pads and tampons available in bathrooms, our goal is to normalize periods and break the detrimental stigma that periods are something to be ashamed of,” states IDEA club officer Hailey Baldwin. The club also wants to raise awareness on the high tax placed upon period products. According to Linda Carroll at Reuters, “A survey of low-income women in a large U.S. city finds that nearly two-thirds couldn’t afford menstrual hygiene products.” With greater awareness brings a greater demand for change, and the IDEA club works to inform students of the struggles that many low-income women have to encounter when faced with the high tax placed on period products.
Before the end of the first semester, the IDEA club will have feminine hygiene products available in every bathroom at Cary High School. The club hopes to sustain the project so that all students can have easy access to feminine hygiene products for years to come. If you want to donate to help keep the initiative going, you can do so by bringing pads or tampons to room 2328 or the donation box outside of the front office. To learn more about the club and their goals, visit IDEA club’s website at chsidea.weebly.com and follow their Instagram, @ideaclubchs.