SHS provides free menstrual products after Feminist Club effort


Maggie Dickman

Containers full of free menstrual products, like the one shown above, have been placed in bathrooms around SHS.

The implementation of free menstrual products has been a popular effort within Shorewood students over past years. Feminist Club, a club which has been brought back this year, wanted to create concrete change within school walls. As one of their first projects, they tackled the lack of menstrual products available to students.

The primary option for menstrual products in bathrooms has been metal dispensers that charge 25 cents per pad or tampon. These are generally unpopular among students. Toma Avdeev, junior and co-president of the Feminist Club, and has yet to have a sucessful experience with these dispensers. 

“No one really uses them,”Avdeev said. “[Most of the time] I have put a quarter in and I can’t even get the knob to turn, it was so rusted. I think it was empty too, it just ate my quarter.”

Recognizing the inconvenience of these dispensers, Feminist Club saw a change needed to be made that could benefit the students of Shorewood. 

To raise awareness of this issue, Feminist Club created The Bleed for Free Campaign, which took place in November 2021. The club created a petition to fill the gender neutral, womens and staff bathrooms with free period products. Gaining a swift 160 signatures, they surpassed the initial goal of 150

“It just seemed like common sense for our first project: to stock the bathrooms. It’s just as important as toilet paper and paper towels,” said Charlotte Wood, junior and co-president of Feminist Club.

Expecting to pay for supplies out of their own pockets, it came as a surprise to the club that the school had them already, waiting to be used. 

“We [were given] these boxes, probably from the basement, that had shipping labels from 2018, 2019,” Avdeev said. “They could’ve been in the bathrooms before, but instead they were just sitting there, collecting dust.”

It just seemed like common sense for our first project: to stock the bathrooms.

— Charlotte Wood, junior and co-president of Feminist Club

Feminist Club is not the first to attempt the implementation of free supplies for students. In years shortly before the pandemic, products were made available to students in some bathrooms. Jane Devine, Teacher’s Secretary of 10 years, was here during the first efforts.

“We started putting them in different bathrooms back then, but it just kind of fell apart when the students [stopped being in] school,” Devine said. 

Almost every morning, Devine is sure to fill the containers in bathrooms with products for the day.

“Some days are better than others… it can be hard to keep up with,” Devine said. “I have good intentions, but it’s a lot sometimes…It’s a small, nice thing to do and if it makes somebody’s life a little easier, here it is.”