Commending UK for providing pads in women’s restrooms


Kernel Opinion SIG

Kellsie Kennedy

Since I have been a student at UK, I have seen stacks of the generic maxi-pads in every restroom on campus. I took this for granted, confused when I visited other colleges that either had no pads or tampon dispensers or charged for them. I thought of times when I was running low on cash and knew that I could rely on UK’s free pads if I could not afford the ones I normally buy. I was so accustomed to their being provided that I took it for granted.

It took student action in 2016 for Brown University to stock free pads in their women’s and men’s restrooms. The student body president said in a Newsweek article that, “Low-income students struggle with having the necessary funding for food, let alone tampons.”

An article from the Daily Cal website also speaks to the importance of offering free pads and/or tampons in particularly college bathrooms. That article reports that “individuals who have a period will need to spend around $70 on pads and tampons per year, for up to 40 years.” 

Seventy dollars, nearly half a Netflix subscription, does not sound like a substantial amount of money, but for those who struggle to balance tuition, textbooks, groceries, rent and more on a part-time budget, buying menstruation products can be stressful.

However, those who say universities should provide pads and tampons in restrooms for reasons other than poverty seem a bit ridiculous. 

The same Daily Cal article says that “a 2013 study conducted by the Free the Tampon Foundation showed that 86 percent of girls and women they surveyed started their period in a public place without adequate supplies.” 

This statistic makes me suspicious because pads and tampons weigh almost nothing. They are easy to throw in a backpack or a purse. It has never been a hassle to carry one or two just in case. Even when I have forgotten to put them in my backpack, I have always been able to ask someone in my class or a friend for one.

Regardless, UK has acted superbly in providing pads in the women’s restrooms. 

The next step the college should take is adding a handful in all men’s restrooms to include the transgender community. By providing free pads, low-income students have one less worry as they work to meet their needs and receive an education.