On Tuesday, the New York City Council unanimously passed a set of menstrual hygiene bills, which will hopefully pave the road for nationwide progress on the issue. The bill requires free tampons and sanitary napkins to be made available in prisons, shelters, and public schools. Honestly, it is amazing news.
Councilperson Julissa Ferreras-Copeland hit the nail on the head when she told the Associated Press of tampons and pads, “They’re as necessary as toilet paper.” She’s so right.
Women all over the world miss school and work due to their menstrual cycles, particularly when they do not have access to the necessary hygienic products. Of course, missing school and work comes with a whole slew of problems — some of which turn into larger statistics about why women fall behind in professional spheres. Point being, tampons and pads are not luxury items, they are necessities and they should be provided as such.
New York is the first city to pass these menstrual equity bills and they’re particularly important to lower income women. In one prison, doctors required the inmates to bring their used pads in plastic bags to prove their need for more — a practice that is as unsanitary as it is humiliating.
In order for this bill to go into effect, it must be signed by Mayor Bill de Blasio. While he hasn’t said when he will sign the bill, it is expected that he will.
This spring, New York also made tampon news by eliminating the city’s tampon tax. We can only hope the rest of the country follows New York’s example.