This November, three stocked menstrual product dispensers await PV High school girls in key bathrooms; the pool bathroom, the one by the PV virtual entrance, and a third-floor bathroom– the result of seniors Claudia Caruso and Georgia Loladze’s awareness of “period poverty,” not having menstrual supplies on hand or not having the funds to afford them.
The call to action originated last spring when Loladze researched menstrual access inequities for an AP English Language paper. Motivated by her findings, Loladze introduced her idea to the SAFE Collective Club and soon partnered up with Caruso to pursue change locally.
Getting one’s period already poses enough uncertainty without lacking essential pads or tampons at school. Additionally, studies conducted by Georgia Southern University show that 69% of teen girls feel embarrassed having to request products. Motivated by these troubling statistics, the duo began advocating to administrators to add menstrual products into school restrooms.
Over the resulting months, Loladze and Caruso faced many obstacles.
“Dr. Russell was initially concerned about issues of vandalism that may arise with the machines,” Caruso said. “However, after this meeting, we worked to find machines that would dispense products individually instead of simply having a basket.”
Loladze cited communication as her biggest obstacle, “It was a lot of emailing and waiting for answers, which made me a little restless because I was excited to get this implemented.”
Loladze and Caruso conducted a survey last spring, finding that 96.7% of PV girls backed better bathroom access.
“I know people feel uncomfortable having to go to the nurse for products,” said sophomore Nadia Elbaga, echoing girls’ shared aversion to requesting products.
While starting with three test dispensers, expansion may come if embraced by students. Advocates like Caruso, Loladze, and Dr. Barabra Russell (Superintendent) maintain high hopes that the first phase will prove immediately resourceful and popular, given past surveys indicating over 90% of female students report a demand for free menstrual products in the bathrooms. Their efforts come as another impactful step toward abolishing “period poverty” of any sort.