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Jul 20 2016
by Hannah Holzer

NYC Mayor Makes Feminine Products Free In Certain Places

By Hannah Holzer - Jul 20 2016

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has recently signed legislation increasing access to menstrual products by making them free for public schools, jails and shelters. The legislation will cover the costs of products for all female inmates, females in shelters, and females in public schools – including for those who use the listed facilities and products and who are gender neutral or transgender.

“There should be no stigma around something as fundamental as menstruation – these laws recognize that feminine hygiene products are a necessity, not a luxury,” de Blasio said at his signing of the legislation at the High School for Violin and Dance. “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. As a father, husband and feminist, I am proud to sign these bills into law.”

Intro 1122-A requires “the Department of Correction to provide all female inmates with feminine hygiene products as soon as practicable upon request,” as well as requiring them to provide the same products to those females arrested and detained.

Intro 1123-A requires “the Department of Citywide Administrative Services ... provide a supply of feminine hygiene products to agencies operating or having oversight of providers operating temporary shelters sufficient to meet the needs of its residents, ... as well as youth in congregate care facilities operated by ACS who are awaiting placement with a licensed foster care agency.”

And Intro 1128-A requires “the Department of Education (DOE) to make feminine hygiene products available at no cost to students in the bathrooms of school buildings located in facilities that are leased by the DOE or over which DOE has care, custody and control, serving female students in grades six through twelve.”

New York City Councilwoman Julissa Ferreras-Copeland, who introduced the legislation earlier this year, was stunned when it passed with a 49-0 vote by the city council.

“(This) says periods are powerful,” Ferreras-Copeland told a crowd waiting outside of City Hall in June when the legislation passed city council. “Menstrual hygiene products are as necessary as toilet paper — and no one is freaking out about toilet paper.”

And with de Blasio’s sign off, the legislation can now be put into effect.

“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,” Ferreras Copeland said at the recent signing. “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. I thank … Mayor Bill de Blasio for (his) vision and demonstrated support which is an example for other cities to follow.”

Maybe now other mayors or legislators will take note and continue to spread the message and make more progress when it comes to feminine hygiene. 

Lead Image Credit: nycmayorsoffice; via Flickr Commons

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Hannah Holzer - UC Davis

Soon-to-be UC Davis freshman, journalist, film enthusiast & baker extraordinaire.

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