New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio signed legislation Wednesday that will ensure menstrual hygiene products are provided free of charge at all public schools, homeless shelters, and prisons in the city. The bill was passed unanimously through the city council in June.
“There should be no stigma around something as fundamental as menstruation,” DeBlasio said in a press release. “These laws recognize that feminine hygiene products are a necessity – not a luxury.” He added:
“Students should be able to concentrate on their studies, New Yorkers in shelter should be able to focus on rebuilding their lives, and women in our Correction Department should be able to work toward rehabilitation and release without the indignity of inadequate access to tampons and pads.”
The new law, which was proposed by New York City Councilwoman Julissa Ferreras-Copeland, will provide free menstruation products to 300,000 school girls and 23,000 women who rely on homeless shelters. Through tampons and pads are theoretically already free in prisons and shelters, advocates say that supplies are inadequate and hard to come by. The average woman spends about $18,000 on tampons, pads, and products related to menstrual pain in her lifetime.
According to Ferreras-Copeland, the bill is the first of its kind. “Every young person should have their essential needs met in order to do well in school, and that includes having unfettered access to menstrual hygiene products,” she said as DeBlasio signed the bill. “Today, I am proud to lead the nation towards menstrual equity by guaranteeing access to pads and tampons to hundreds of thousands of women and girls.”
The new city law may be joined soon by a statewide measure to make feminine hygiene products tax-exempt. The latter bill passed the New York State Legislature in May and is headed to Governor Andrew Cuomo, who has said he will sign it.
(Via Huffington Post)