A recent survey found that 1 in 4 female students have missed class due to a lack of access to period products, while two-thirds reported feeling stress due to a lack of access to those products. More than 80% also said a lack of access to period products is an issue not talked about enough.
A study published in Obstetrics and Gynecology on low-income women found that women already experiencing food insecurity were more likely to struggle to purchase basic menstrual hygiene products, with 21% of women unable to afford them on a monthly basis. According to the National Center for Children in Poverty about 41% of children in Delaware are considered low-income.
The Senate just passed a bill that will seek to alleviate this problem.
House Bill 20 would require all Delaware public and charter schools that serve students in grades 6-12 to provide menstrual hygiene products, such as tampons, pads, and other period products, in half of their bathrooms at no cost to students. HB 20 also requires that menstrual products be made available in half of bathrooms designated non-gender conforming and that schools publish on its website and post in common areas the locations where the hygiene products would be provided.
Based on the Delaware Department of Education’s 2019 enrollment count, more than 37,000 students who menstruate could benefit from the products provided by HB 20.
That House passed this bill unanimously and now so has the Senate. The bill heads to Governor Carney for his signature.
|House Bill 20 Sponsors||Yes Votes||No Votes|
|Longhurst, Heffernan, Lambert, Moore, Baumbach, Chukwuocha, Cooke, Griffith, K.Johnson, Kowalko, Minor-Brown, Mitchell, Morrison, Osienski, M.Smith||House Passed 40-0-1. Baumbach Bennett Bentz Brady Bush Carson Chukwuocha Cooke Dorsey-Walker Griffith Heffernan K.Johnson K.Williams Kowalko Lambert Longhurst Lynn Matthews Minor-Brown Mitchell Morrison Osienski S.Moore Schwartzkopf Wilson-Anton Briggs King Collins D.Short Dukes Gray Hensley M.Smith Morris Postles Ramone Shupe Smyk Spiegelman Vanderwende Yearick||Bolden (Absent)|
|Gay, Lockman, Poore, Hansen, S.McBride, Paradee, Pinkney, Sokola, Sturgeon, Townsend||Senate Passed 21-0. Brown Ennis Gay Hansen Lockman Mantzavinos Paradee Pinkney Poore S.McBride Sokola Sturgeon Townsend Walsh Bonini Hocker Lawson Lopez Pettyjohn Richardson Wilson||None|
|Current Status:||Sent to Governor Carney for his signature|
“This legislation will directly impact the lives of menstruating students throughout our state by providing them with a basic level of dignity as they attend Delaware schools,” said Sen. Kyle Evans Gay, the prime Senate sponsor of House Bill 20. “By openly addressing this issue, we are demonstrating our commitment to remove the stigma of menstruation. Thank you to my Senate colleagues for voting to support the students who today are missing classes because they lack access to period products.”
“Period products are essential to our daily lives, but somewhere along the way, they became a luxury,” said Rep. Valerie Longhurst, the prime House sponsor. “People of all ages struggle with the financial burden of period products, particularly low-income families. This adds an unnecessary stress on children.
“We have the opportunity and responsibility to take a stand for period equity by providing access to safe, sanitary period products. I’m proud to take this step forward so that our Delaware children can go about their daily lives with dignity, and without shame or worry.”