The high cost associated with having a period has Natalie Goldberg taking action. The NIU junior from Naperville recently kicked off a Menstruation Campaign project as a way to create awareness and help offset the financial burden that Huskies face when buying menstruation products.
“These products are so expensive and serve as obstacles for people that might already be struggling to afford other basic necessities,” Goldberg said. “I want to help the NIU community by providing products and making life a little easier on them financially.”
The idea for the campaign came after Goldberg, who works as a student staff assistant for NIU’s Gender and Sexuality Resource Center, began researching the costs associated with having a period each month. In addition, she learned more about the “pink tax,” a term used to refer to the price difference for female-specific products compared to gender-neutral goods.
“This is a nationwide problem,” Goldberg said. “As a country we should not be taxing the items that are essential for comfort and discreetness.”
In 2016, Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner signed a law eliminating sales taxes on feminine hygiene products that went into effect in 2017. Goldberg said that while it’s a positive for the Prairie State, there is more to do right here on campus, especially since menstruation affects all genders.
The Menstruation Campaign was born.
Goldberg reached out to the community as well as NIU Housing and Residential Services and secured more than 500 donations of products. And when classes began this fall, tampons and pads are available in the gender-neutral bathrooms in the Holmes Student Center for students, faculty and staff.
“NIU is a campus that values equity and inclusion,” Goldberg said. “Providing these much needed products on campus aligns with this value. No one should ever feel like they have to choose between spending money on necessities and tuition.”
“College students have many stressors and money is often one of those,” Owens said. “Efforts like these are important because they shed light on the possibility of students having one less thing to worry about. I love that Natalie is striving to raise awareness to make menstruation products more accessible.”
Long term goals for the campaign include making products available in other facilities throughout campus. Goldberg said when someone has a period they shouldn’t have to worry about how they will afford to buy the products they need. And based on Huskie response, students agree.
“The reaction has been positive which is exciting for me because the momentum continues to build for donations,” Goldberg said. “I am excited for the future of this campaign and I look forward to spreading the news of this even further.”