A new program starting Monday will offer girls at 25 New York City public schools free feminine hygiene products from bathroom dispensers.
When it is fully implemented by March 31, the new initiative will be available to roughly 11,600 students, education officials said to the New York Daily News.
City Councilwoman Julissa Ferreras-Copeland started the idea for the program when Queens High School for Arts and Business received positive feedback on a bathroom tampon dispenser that was installed at the school, the Daily News stated. Ferreras-Copeland worked with the Department of Education to select two districts, one in Queens and one in the Bronx, to be the first in the free tampon program.
“Girls in these districts face the greatest financial hardships,” Ferreras-Copeland told the Daily News. “I want to ensure none of them lose class time, face illness or feel humiliated because their family cannot afford pads.”
The political movement to ensure that feminine hygiene products are made available and tax-free has been growing in recent months, with lawsuits filed in some states like New York that aim to make tampons and pads more accessible and untaxed, according to a recent Observer article.
“It is absolutely illegal, in fact, to not be including these products under the term medical necessity,” activist Jennifer Weiss-Wolf was quoted by the Observer. “There’s research and other backup to show the kinds of infection or problems that people can have if they don’t use these products.”
Ferreras-Copeland aims for feminine hygiene products to be available citywide not just in public schools but also in homeless shelters and correctional facilities, the Observer added.