NY State Schools Will Now Provide Free Tampons And Pads For Students

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New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has announced that all schools in New York will now be required to provide free menstrual products in restrooms for girls in grades six through twelve.

Cuomo said: “Menstrual products are as necessary as toilet paper and soap, but can be one expense too many for struggling families.”

The Governer is right. Ending menstrual inequality and period poverty is finally here.

New York is the 3rd state (right behind California and Illinois) to require schools to provide menstrual products to female students–as well as the eleventh state to eliminate the so-called “tampon tax” that for years has added 4 to 10 percent to the products’ price.

This law also follows a 2016 law that New York City passed that provided all public schools, shelters, and correctional facilities with free feminine products.

This new requirement is great not only because schools should be providing for their students’ daily basic needs, but also because it takes the state one step closer to equal treatment of girls in our society.

Just as eliminating the tampon tax in New York sent a message that menstrual products are just as important as items like toothpaste and deodorant, this new law puts menstrual products in the same category with toilet paper and paper towels–as they should be.

Providing free tampons also moves us toward eliminating the cultural taboo of periods and menstruation–and instead treating them for what they are: a normal, natural bodily function experienced by just over half of the world’s population.

On a more practical level, this new requirement means that, at least in New York State, nurses can stop pleading for feminine product donations online and teachers can stop using their own money to provide pads to their students.

But do kids in school really need access to free tampons and pads?

As the Governers Cuomo’s office stated earlier this year in a press release, “In New York, 42 percent of children live in low income families. At $7 to $10 per package, a month’s supply of something as simple as a box of pads or tampons can be one expense too many for struggling families.”

In certain cases, these families can be choosing between menstrual care and food.

More Good News

This legislation is only part of Gov. Cuomo’s 2018 Women’s Agenda For New York, which also includes plans to reduce dating violence and domestic violence, close the STEM gender gap, and providing more mentorship opportunities for girls.

Along with girls having access to menstrual products, these are all wonderful steps in the right direction.

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