Tampon Dispensers: New Addition to White House’s Women’s Bathrooms

The Deputy Chief of Staff of the White House ensures that the White House’s administration is running smoothly. He or she also follows other responsibilities that the Chief of Staff assigns to him/her. This is what Alyssa Mastromonaco has been doing for the past six years for President Obama and even since 2005 when she was working for Obama when he was still in the senate. Her projects would include mundane tasks to serious and important ones. Not only that it can also be weird to some at times like having new installations in the building.

As she leaves her job in the White House and with Obama, she details her experiences and learnings via a book she authored, “Who Thought This Was A Good Idea? And Other Questions You Should Have Answers to When You Work in the White House.” This is her record of experiences when she was still in the White House and is aimed at promoting politics as career change for women. One anecdote that is notable in her book is her project for new bathroom installations.

Originally, bathrooms in the White House were just the usual looking ones found in offices. They have the stalls, toilets, sinks and mirrors, and even those unflattering lights. No tampons though. Alyssa recalls the day that she realized there is a need for new bathroom installations, particularly for a tampon dispenser. One cannot rush to a store to buy tampons when you really need it especially during back-to-back meetings, tight security causes the entry back to be quite time-consuming. She remembers the day then that she had a real code red, she was already bleeding through her pants during one of the dinners that they were having in the office. It was a busy day and all her tampons were used, other women (who still had periods, most have gone through menopause) didn’t have extra tampons in their supply during that moment too. The only thing left to do was to leave and rush to the store which she was able to do when she was assisted by one of her friends to her car. She then made it her goal to have tampon dispensers in the women’s restrooms. She announced this plan to a roomful of people, mostly men, in the Roosevelt Room a couple of weeks after that. There was no response actually and that was it. Tampon dispensers are now installed in the bathrooms for women.