The city council of New York City made history on Tuesday with a unanimous decision to pass a bill that would guarantee free access to tampons and pads in all public schools, jails, and homeless shelters. This bill is the first of its kind in the nation.
It goes without saying that menstrual products are a necessity and not a luxury for any person with a period. That is why we can’t believe it took this long for a U.S. city to start providing tampons and pads to the huge population of people who need them. We take for granted that toilet paper and hand soap have long been seen as public health necessities and are provided publicly. Tampons and pads are equally as essential as toilet paper, so it seems obvious that they would be equally as accessible. However, a large population of women and girls (and trans and non-binary folks) have had to deal with missing school, risking infections, or being publically humiliated due to lack of access to menstrual products. As Julissa Ferreras-Copeland, the councilwoman who spearheaded the
As Julissa Ferreras-Copeland, the councilwoman who spearheaded the bill, said in a statement:
“Providing menstrual hygiene products privately, immediately and for free is also about sending a body-positive message by not perpetuating shame and humiliation, and acknowledging that women’s bodies, even those of women serving time in prison, deserve some dignity during their periods.”
With the tampon tax still in effect in the vast majority of U.S. states, the U.S. still has a long way to go when it comes to destigmatizing periods and providing access to menstrual products. However, this is a step in the right direction for New York City and we hope to see other cities follow suit.
Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons
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