For anyone with a uterus, menstruation can often be a surprising, frustrating event. That's why students at several schools in the United States, ranging from middle schools to universities, have begun to push for access to free menstrual supplies in bathrooms.

Brown University recently rolled out free pads and tampons in all of the nonresidential bathrooms, including in the men's restrooms. This initiative, which was sponsored by the current Student Body President, is meant to be a trans-inclusive way to provide access to period necessities. 

Other universities have or currently are providing access to pads and tampons for their students, including the University of Minnesota, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and Columbia University. 

The push for schools to provide free access to menstrual supplies extends past the collegiate level. Currently, all public schools in New York state have free menstrual products, both in middle and high schools, as required by law

One of the major reasons why it is important for schools to provide menstrual supplies is because, for many, periods can come unexpectedly. In one survey conducted by Harris Interactive, 79% of women over the age of 18 have started their period without access to the necessary supplies, and it is more likely that those in middle and high school are going to be lacking access to supplies if their period arrives unexpectedly

The other reason that schools should provide pads and tampons for students is economic. Periods are expensive, with a single box of pads or tampons in the United States costing anywhere from $7 to $10. For lower income families, the costs of purchasing supplies every month can be more than they can afford. Access to free supplies would help to alleviate some of the economic strain having a period provides. 

Lack of access to menstrual supplies can have an impact on education. Without access to supplies, students often miss class or do not participate as vigorously for fear of leakage and embarrassment. Fear of period leakage prevents students from being able to focus in class and that can overall impact educational outcomes. Without shame and fear, students have more opportunity to be successful in school, which is always a plus. 

The lack of adequate access to menstrual products is an issue that impacts women throughout the world, and it is a serious issue. Educational opportunities are being impacted all because people cannot afford the supplies that they need while on their period. If schools were to provide free access to menstrual supplies, it would be a huge step forward in achieving menstrual equality