According to helpingwomenperiod.org, on average, women spend anywhere from $150-300 a year on tampons and pads and an additional $20-$50 on over-the-counter medication to relieve cramps and other side effects that come with periods.
In a lifetime, women have an estimated 500 menstrual cycles from around the ages of 12-52. All bodies are different and experience different needs within a cycle, but that equals an average of $6,000 in a woman’s reproductive lifetime.
That’s $6,000 that could be used towards college, food, vacation, shopping, and more. The list is endless.
That’s why Director of Initiative of the Undergraduate Student Government, Julia Cilleruelo del Moral is pushing for the Menstrual Product Initiative (MPI) at IUPUI.
“The MPI aims to provide free menstrual products to all gender neutral and women’s restrooms on campus,” Cilleruelo said. “As a woman myself, I am very passionate about educating about period poverty and making sure that periods are not a taboo topic on campus. It is time to advocate for what students who menstruate deserve.”
There are currently only two IU campuses providing free menstrual products in restrooms, IU Bloomington and IU Southeast. Neither of these campuses had a student government fund the initiative nor use student fees. Both campuses have campus facilities paying for it which is the same goal Cilleruelo has for IUPUI, being that it is the most diverse campus in the state.
“IUPUI’s strategic goals include promoting an inclusive campus climate.” she said. “We need to make sure everyone who menstruates feels supported. By having free menstrual products available, we are hoping to address that health disparity, to make sure they feel like their health is a priority at IUPUI.”
The menstrual initiative has been in process for two years, but Cilleruelo wants to be the one to finally make the plan happen on campus. She has gained support from other campus organizations such as the Women4Change, Jagathon, Desijags and the Graduate and Professional Student Government. Cilleruelo was even able to create a team to help her gain signatures for the action.
“I was able to train a committee of passionate individuals that are helping me with the Menstrual Product Initiative, and are focusing a lot on outreach,” she said. “After gathering enough signatures, the Menstrual Product Initiative will be presented to IUPUI administration and the Director of Finance with the needed additional info.”
While Cillereuleo is on track to finally bring free menstrual products to IUPUI, she can’t finalize this without getting more signatures. The goal is to get between 2000-3000 signatures on the initiative to present to the administration and so far there are only 650.
If you are interested in helping bring menstrual products to all 400 restrooms on campus sign the petition here.