Governor Newsom signed a bill requiring there to be free menstrual products in public schools as of next school year.
Beginning in 2022, it will be a requirement for all California public schools to provide free menstrual products in bathrooms. The Menstrual Equity for All Act is enforcing this change as fifty percent of the bathrooms will have free products as of next school year, according to usatoday.com. This concerns grades 6-12 as well as public community colleges and the California State Universities.
According to Palomar Health Services, the Palomar College Student Health Centers provide free menstrual products in the Palomar clinics to currently enrolled students. This includes pads and tampons.
“It’s great that the bill will make menstrual products easily accessible to all women and will eliminate any worry associated with having to pay for these products,” said Lenka Schalkle, Health Services Specialist at Palomar via email.
This act is also expanding on a law that was passed in 2017 that requires schools in low income areas to provide their students. California will also stop taxation of menstrual products, which will significantly drop the total yearly cost, according to cnn.com.
The accessibility to menstrual products is a concern for people with a period as it is something out of their control that occurs with no warning, so having products at their disposal will save them the detour of running home or to the store. Not only will people have better access to menstrual product, but they will be free, which may help the severity of period poverty.
“There’s lots of young girls that don’t have access to period products or feel embarrassed asking for them. Some families don’t have the income to provide those items to their children, those families could use the support. I think this bill will have some really positive effects going into destigmatizing menstrual cycles and providing for those who cannot afford period products,” said Angelee Castro, student and women’s rights advocate via message.
Although this is something other nations around the world have already taken action on, it is California’s turn to do their contribution with hopes of inspiring other states to do the same.