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We want to stock your bathrooms with August period care!

By Chesley Chan (she/her) and Ruby Moon (she/her) from Team August | 6.13.2022

August period care has been around for a little over 1 year but even before we had our own line of tampons, pads, and liners, our mission has been to reimagine period care for all, including access to products and education.

We believe free period care should be available in all schools, companies, and shared community spaces. Because why should having a period stop you from earning an education or being present in your day-to-day routine?!

In addition, periods and reproductive health education shouldn’t be a secretive 3-lesson unit that is taught in an out-of-date way by your gym teacher. Our team has designed a series of back-of-the-stall posters for some light-reading as you change out your period product at school. Take a sneak peak throughout this article at some of the designs!

We officially have over 50 schools (and counting!) across North America stocking their bathrooms with August period products.

This achievement is thanks to the August Advocates Program whereby people can nominate their school (or any other public space) to get free period products!

Chesley (from Team August) has been championing this program. So, we brought her into the Ask August newsroom to give us a breakdown of how the August Advocates program came to be and what the nomination process is like.

Hey Ches! Introduce yourself & your role on Team August.

Hi everyone! My name is Chesley and I’m the Chief of Staff at August. One of my main roles on the team is working on expanding access to period care in schools across North America.

Where does your passion for periods and menstrual equity come from?

I believe that all menstruators have a right to care for their bodies with dignity, regardless of socioeconomic background. After many conversations with our community members in the #InnerCycle, my eyes were open to how access to period care has been treated as a privilege, rather than a right, which is completely wrong. I feel very grateful for the opportunity to be working towards a more equitable future for all people with periods!

How can a period affect someone’s overall education? // Why do you consider it important to have period products in schools?

Period poverty has a massive impact on education. One in five teens struggle to afford menstrual products and one in ten college students are currently experiencing period poverty. Because we firmly believe that no one should ever have to miss school because of their period, we created the August Advocates program.

Why are pads and tampons not free?

Hi it's Ruby stepping in for this answer!

Pads and tampons are not currently free to the average citizen because they aren’t prioritized as something that should be covered in public spaces. Obviously someone is paying for the products, but where it gets frustrating is the extra cost. That is, people who use period products are actually paying additional sales tax than those who don’t have a period since period products are not considered a ‘necessary good’ (like rogaine, viagra, and CONDOMS – are we noticing the pattern yet?), but a ‘luxury good’.

Let that sink in. A good comparison is to toilet paper in public bathrooms – interesting that TP is free but tampons & pads, which are pretty much made of the same material, are not. Imagine having to pay for toilet paper when you have to pee (or any other bodily function...) It makes sense when it's in your own private home but we would never expect to pay for TP when at school or work. Tampons & pads should be given the same energy!

For the time being, and until funding is allotted to providing period care across North America, brands like ours are trying to organize with school administrations to supply quality period products to their students.

What is period poverty?

Period poverty is the lack of access to menstrual products, hygiene facilities, waste management, and education. Unfortunately it can lead to serious health issues and missing out on school and other opportunities.

Where are disparities in period poverty most visible?

Period poverty is most devastating for marginalized populations due to financial and social reasons. For example, many students, low-income, homeless, and incarcerated menstruators, can’t afford pads or tampons. Currently, 27 states in the United States still charge a luxury goods tax (aka, the “tampon tax”) on period products, which is an added burden to these folks.

For gender non-conforming menstruators (such as transgender and nonbinary people with uteruses), periods can induce gender dysphoria, which can be an added barrier to obtaining period products. According to Schuyler Bailar, “gender dysphoria is the distress or discomfort that arises from an incongruence between someone’s gender assigned at birth and their true gender identity.” On top of the existing period stigma, the period experience has traditionally been taught as a women’s only issue, which further stigmatizes menstruation for trans and nonbary folk who menstruate.

What is August doing to fight period poverty?

  • We are working with schools around North America to increase period product accessibility by stocking their bathrooms with August’s pads, tampons, and liners.
  • August covers the "Tampon Tax" for orders placed from the 27 US states that have it! Between October and December 2021, we covered $6,608.92 in tampon taxes.
  • For every purchase, August donates products to our Philadelphia-based nonprofit partner: No More Secrets (NMS). Lynette and her daughter Nya created the nation’s first ever menstrual hub: The Spot. What began as a place to visit for free period care, has blossomed into a community institution and safe space for marginalized menstruators. Between October and December 2021, we have donated over 40,346 period products and served over 2,689 menstruators in need! In addition, we have donated $2398.50 to support their dream delivery utility vehicle: The Menstrual Mobile.

How can someone get free August period care in their school?

The above photo is from students who got August products in their school (Sanford School in Delaware).

Anyone in the U.S. can nominate their school or organization to stock August period care in their bathrooms. You can be a student, a parent, an employee, or even an alumnus.

Follow these steps and we’ll take it from there!

  1. If you are not subscribed to our text list yet, text “August” to 243-41.
  2. Once you are subscribed, text “AAP” and follow the instructions :)

We want to make a couple things clear – as an August Advocates member, you will directly work with your school (or non-profit) administration to purchase August products for the restrooms.

Take a look at this deck that you can also show to your school administrator! Click here.

How long does it take to actually go through the August Advocates nomination process?

It takes a quick minute to text – after that, it depends on how quick you are to discuss next steps with your school administration!

To make it easier on yourself, make sure you have the name and email address of the stakeholder(s) (in your organization) ready to go!

Once your school has decided to stock their bathrooms with August period care, they will fill out this order form!

If multiple people nominate one school, is it more likely to get August products?

More than one nomination won’t change the likelihood of getting products BUT, more than one person chatting with your administration to show support, enthusiasm, and need for these products WILL.

Is it just schools that can be nominated, or other public spaces?

ALL public spaces, including schools, community centers, workout studios, religious spaces, etc. can be nominated :)

How many schools are in the process of stocking their bathrooms with August period care? What has the impact been so far?

Menstruators in more than 50 schools in over 20 U.S. states are being served with August period products!

That includes high schools, elementary schools and universities.

We are so excited to reach other schools!

One last question, how can you be comfortable on your period at school?

Remember that, depending on your age, about half your school gets their period so you’re definitely not alone if you’re feeling nervous about carrying a tampon down the hall.

Be unapologetic about your period! No need to hide your tampon up your sleeve.

Also, August is working on getting our period care stocked in more and more school bathrooms so hopefully you never have to worry about leaking through your clothes. Being comfortable on your period means owning the fact that you have a period.

Periods are powerful! Go into each day at school on your period with that energy.

Thank you again for taking the time to get involved with our August Advocates initiative.

We can't wait to potentially work with your school to make this happen!

Text “August” to 243-41 then “AAP” to that number!

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