Skip to main content

Davis Journal

Dispensers give Davis County students access to free pads and tampons

Sep 01, 2022 02:01PM ● By Becky Ginos

NORTH SALT LAKE—Over the next few weeks, more than 6,000 Aunt Flow free-vend dispensers for period products will be installed in public and charter school’s girls’ bathrooms across the state, including Davis County. HB162 “Period Products in Schools,” sponsored by Sen. Ann Milner and Rep. Karianne Lisonbee, was passed unanimously by the legislature this past session and signed into law. It requires that all schools provide access to free period products beginning with the 2022-2023 school year.

“Our recent work is making sure women and girls have access to period products,” said Emily McCormick, president and founder of Utah-based The Policy Project. “We’re trying to remove ‘period poverty.’ It’s interesting because usually you think that only happens in far away countries but it’s a big issue in the U.S.”

In students under 18, 82 percent have missed school because they don’t have access to products, she said. “Eight out of 10 girls missed class. That number is so ridiculous.”

There’s a stigma around it and shame, said McCormick. “It’s embarrassing because it only happens to females, it’s something to keep quiet. There’s a silent need. It’s a big health issue. One in four teens can’t afford products so they’re scrambling to find something so they can go to class. It’s also a problem in the workforce.”

It’s an issue that is really antiquated, she said. “It’s not a new idea. Toilet paper is necessary and it’s in public restrooms for everybody. Our hope is to redefine this general need.”

McCormick said The Policy Project researched how to implement disbursement of the products into more than 6,000 girls’ bathrooms. “We had to consider what type of materials should be available, such as pads that are thick, pads with wings, etc. You can’t have a sixth grader playing basketball wearing a massive kind of diaper and she’s supposed to play like a boy.”

Aunt Flow was leaps and bounds ahead of anyone else, she said. “They know how to deal with this and their organic products consider women's anatomy, mobility and comfort. The dispensers are kid friendly and discreet.”

Private donations from the Larry H. & Gail Miller Foundation and The Andrus Family Foundation made it possible to install the Aunt Flow dispensers and Aunt Flow organic cotton period products in schools, said McCormick. “The state will provide funding for ongoing products for the dispenser. We all worked together.”

Aunt Flow founder Claire Coder launched the company six years ago when she was 18, said Aunt Flow Senior Director of sales, Sara Djubek. “She was frustrated when she couldn’t find period products in the bathroom and she didn’t think anyone should have to go through that.”

This gives children access to free products in the bathroom, she said. “Many students can’t afford those products. We need to end period poverty. This is a problem affecting America and Utah as well.”

The dispensers are easy to use, said Djubek. “All that’s required is pushing a lever and simply pressing inward. There’s a clear window so you can see exactly what it is so it’s not a mystery.”

There has been a desperate need for a solution like this, she said. “We want to eliminate the taboo and celebrate that this is a normal human experience.” λ