Like it is for hundreds of other people in the Treasure Valley, the RAM Restaurant in Boise is our destination to grab a bite to eat before a Boise State basketball game, concert or other event happening at ExtraMile Arena. We were pretty shocked to see this in their women’s restroom before a recent concert...so we're writing an open letter about it.

For as close as our radio station is to the RAM Restaurant, you’d think that I would eat there more often than I do. But it’s been a few months since the last time I stopped through. My girlfriends and I decided to grab dinner there before a concert. When I went to wash my hands, something on the sink counter stopped me in my tracks. 

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There was a little plastic container of free menstrual products sitting there for female patrons to grab if they found themselves in a situation where they were in need of a pad or tampon. While I wasn’t in that position at the time, I thought to myself “wow, that’s pretty cool of them to do.” I’d venture to guess that 99.9% of menstruating women have found themselves in a position where this would have meant the world to them.

Photo by Natracare on Unsplash
Photo by Natracare on Unsplash
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Heck, I know I have. Even someone with the most regular cycle imaginable could have it knocked off rhythm by something as small as an increase in stress, exercise or change in weight making it entirely possible for your period to arrive when you were least expecting it. Those are the moments you’d be touched by something like what we found in the RAM’s bathroom. You rather use one of those than stuff toilet paper in your underwear and pray that you make it through the day without an embarrassing leak. 

I wouldn’t call it a fight, but my husband and I gently butted heads about the idea of making period products free and accessible. Last month, the Idaho House rejected a bill that would have made this possible in public schools and I was incredibly disappointed with the decision. Especially when female lawmakers were the ones calling it “liberal” or “woke.”

Menstruating is an inevitable reality for most women. It’s not something we asked for. This naturally occurring bodily function could keep us from doing things like going to school or work without these products. (Seriously, how many women in your office would walk around with blood stains on their jeans or running down their legs? Yeah, that’s what we thought.) For most women, pads and tampons are as necessary as toilet paper or soap…both of which are provided free in public restrooms. They’re not luxury items. 

Clean tampons forming the word TAX on a red background
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I could go on about the fact that Idaho still has a “Tampon Tax” when five of the six states surrounding us don’t. (To be fair, Oregon and Montana don’t have a state sales tax, so the products were never taxed there but since 2018, Washington, Nevada and Utah all made menstrual products exempt from sales tax.)  Or talk about how the lack of money for these products negatively affects young women from low-income families but there are great programs like the Idaho Period Project that would do a far better job leading that discussion than I would.  

…so I’ll just simply say “thank you” to whoever’s responsible for the free products at The RAM. Your act of kindness and hospitality toward your female guests isn’t going unnoticed and is appreciated probably more than you know!

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