Title IX and Menstruation – Empowering Period Equity In Schools

Updated on May 30, 2024

Title IX and Menstruation

Title IX, a landmark statute enacted in 1972 as part of the Education Amendments, has transformed the landscape of education in the United States over the past five decades.

Designed to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sex in any federally funded education program or activity, Title IX has had a profound impact on ensuring equal opportunities for all students and employees.

Key Points – Title IX – Empowering Menstural Equity In Schools

  • Title IX aims to prevent sex-based discrimination in education.
  • Menstrual equity is crucial for ensuring educational access and equality.
  • Lack of menstrual products can lead to decreased attendance and academic participation.
  • Providing free menstrual products supports compliance with Title IX objectives.
  • School policies should include menstrual products to prevent gender discrimination.

What Is Title IX?

At its core, Title IX mandates that: “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.”

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For publicly funded schools, compliance with Title IX is not optional—it is a legal requirement and failure to adhere to its regulations can result in the loss of federal funding and legal liabilities for educational institutions.

There are various federal programs and grants aligned with Title IX’s goals that schools can access to support initiatives aimed at addressing discrimination and gender equity.

Shortly after President Biden took office in January 2021, the administration announced its intention to review and update Title IX regulations.

The ISSA, along with Citron Hygiene, and several other non-profit and for-profit organisations, requested the Biden administration to include language about requiring menstrual products in schools in the updated Title IX amendments.

What Is the Updated Title IX Amendment?

On April 19, 2024, the U.S. Department of Education released its Final Rule under Title IX. While the revised regulations included expanded protections for transgender individuals, sexual assault victims, and pregnant women, the Department chose not to change the regulatory text to explicitly require schools to provide reasonable modifications for menstruation or related conditions for students and employees through “menstrual-friendly” bathrooms.

Updated Title IX regulations do not explicitly require period products in schools or allocate funding to them.

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However, the revised Title IX regulations are still a step forward in the right direction. According to the final regulations, schools can still, at their own discretion, apply for funding to provide reasonable modifications for students and employees who need menstruation products, especially if menstruation presents barriers to education or employment.

The Biden administration agreed that schools can apply for funding to support students and employees who need period products.

How does this apply to menstruation?

Title IX, while not specifically mentioning menstruation, inherently supports the push for menstrual equity as it aims to reduce gender-based disparities in educational environments. Access to free, quality menstrual products is crucial because it directly impacts a student’s ability to participate and attend educational activities consistently.

Therefore, providing these products can be seen as essential to fulfilling the objectives of Title IX by preventing gender discrimination and promoting equal opportunities in education.

The Broader Impact of Menstrual Equity in Schools

Menstrual equity extends far beyond just reducing missed classes. Students in high schools nationwide face constant scrutiny from peers and teachers, and many lack access to menstrual products, affecting their dignity and participation in school activities.

The situation is exacerbated by economic constraints and often discriminatory school policies, leading to harassment and exclusion.

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A notable case involves an 11-year-old differently-abled girl in Texas expelled from a program due to menstruation, sparking legal challenges under Title IX to address and reform menstrual equity in schools.

What Does This Mean?

So, while our request to require menstrual products in washrooms was not included in the revised regulations this time around, we are hopeful that proactive schools will take action on their own accord and set a precedent that paves the way for future amendments.

At Citron Hygiene, we remain committed to supporting schools in creating safe and inclusive environments for all. From our range of menstrual hygiene solutions to our ongoing initiatives to create period dignity washrooms, we are ready, willing, and able to help schools in fulfilling their Title IX obligations and fostering a culture of equality and respect.

Find out how we can elevate your washroom experience today.