On Tuesday, New York City Councilwoman Julissa Ferreras-Copeland and 48 other city council members unanimously passed a bill package guaranteeing free access to menstrual hygiene products in public schools, homeless shelters, and prisons in the Big Apple, Huffington Post reports. The average woman can spend an estimated $18,000 on tampons, sanitary napkins, pain medications, and other products related to menstruation in her lifetime, according to research conducted in 2015.
“This package is remarkable. It is the only one of its kind, and it says periods are powerful,” Ferreras-Copeland told a crowd gathered in front of City Hall. “Menstrual hygiene products are as necessary as toilet paper — and no one is freaking out about toilet paper.”
If Mayor DeBlasio signs the bill into law next month, New York City will be the first city in the U.S. to guarantee access to period products, according to Ferrerras-Copeland who spearheaded the bill package. The legislation is specifically targeted to help women and girls in lower-income communities who need access to the free hygiene products the most.
“My school has no products in the bathroom. If you don’t have them, you have to go to the nurse — and with 6,000 kids and just one nurse, you’re probably going to be late to class,” Lineyah, a high school senior at New York City’s Brooklyn Tech, told the crowd at City Hall.
Ferreras-Copeland says in its first year, the package will cost the city around $4.2 million. It will drop to around $1.9 million in year two.
The city councilwoman has worked to bring free menstrual products to communities in the past. Earlier this year, she led a program that brought free tampons and pads to 25 schools in the Bronx and Queens. Last month, the state of New York passed a bill to abolish the tampon tax.
(Via Huffington Post)