Mother Nature is fickle. Sometimes she sneaks up on unsuspecting females who aren’t prepared. In order to aid women in this monthly struggle, many women’s bathrooms are equipped with feminine product dispensers. Baylor’s bathrooms, however, often fail to provide the products women can’t go without.
That is not to say Baylor doesn’t have dispensers. Many of the buildings on campus feature bathrooms with machines offering feminine products for an average of 25 cents. The problem lies with the condition and stocking of the dispensers. Many of them are out of stock. Others are old enough to make a woman wonder if she should trust what comes out of it. In places like the Baylor Sciences Building, there are signs to direct ladies to another bathroom in the building for their feminine needs. In Castellaw Communications Center, sometimes a box of products will be placed on top of the empty dispenser by a kind, unknown Samaritan.
This problem is somewhat surprising considering females make up over half of Baylor’s population. Last semester, there were 9,414 female students to 7,373 male students, according to Baylor Institutional Research and Testing. The sheer number of females on campus adds to the amount of times reliable, stocked dispensers may be needed.
By the time most women start attending college, periods are nothing new. They have generally made it a habit to stay prepared by keeping feminine products in bags, purses and backpacks. However, bags don’t refill themselves, and sometimes a female will find herself in an awkward situation. Maybe she grabbed a different purse at the last minute and didn’t think to check all the pockets for a pad or tampon. Maybe her period started early and she didn’t think she needed to stock her backpack with feminine products. Either way, without working dispensers, her only option is to go home or reach out to another woman for help. This can be embarrassing and inconvenient.
Asking another woman, while sometimes awkward, generally works. However, it is not guaranteed that the first person asked will be prepared and armed with a feminine hygiene surplus. If the woman asking only uses pads, she may have a hard time finding someone without only tampons. Even if she uses tampons, the product offered may not be the right size or the preferred brand. Every woman has her preference, and not having the option to choose from a dispenser makes being unprepared a punishable offense.
Worst case scenario, the woman in need may find that everyone around her is equally unprepared. If this is the case, she has no choice but to go home or go to the store. If she is at work or school and cannot leave, she may have to revert to so-called solutions many girls learned about in grade school. These include tying a jacket around the waist or forming a makeshift pad out of toilet paper. If she does not have a jacket, the first option is out. The second option may suffice for a few minutes at most, depending on the severity of the woman’s period.
It would be nice if feminine hygiene products were free, but that is not the plea of this editorial. Given the fact that most of the dispensers around campus are empty, it is clear that women are willing to pay for the product. They are not asking for handouts. The filling and refilling of dispensers would not be a huge expense. Furthermore, it would save the female population of Baylor from potentially awkward and uncomfortable situations.