New York is hopefully the first of many cities to pass a "menstrual equity" bill.
Editor’s Note (September 8, 2016): Newsweek has reported that by mid-November, New York City public schools will supply free pads and tampons in all bathrooms serving students in grades 6 through 12. Brown University has also joined the movement, with a student-led initiative to stock free menstrual products in nonresidential bathrooms across campus through the 2016-2017 school year.
New York City Council Member Julissa Ferreras-Copeland is trying to make that time of the month a whole lot easier and more affordable for women. If Mayor Bill DeBlasio signs Ferreras-Copeland's "menstrual equity" bill into law (as he's expected to do), the city will begin providing free tampons and pads in public schools, shelters, and correctional facilities.
The move toward free feminine products has received resounding support so far. According to The Huffington Post, the city council backed the bill in a unanimous 49-0 vote on Tuesday.
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"The package is remarkable," Ferreras-Copeland told the crowd on the steps of City Hall. "It is the only one of its kind, and it says periods are powerful."
The bill is especially important because it will provide these products to girls and women who really need them, including low-income students, the homeless, and female prisoners. As Ferreras-Copeland pointed out, "menstrual hygiene products are as necessary as toilet paper—and no one is freaking out about toilet paper."
New York City is making history with this long overdue legislation. Here's hoping the rest of the country sees the light.