Legislation For Free Feminine Hygiene Products Now In Effect

Governor Andrew Cuomo recently reminded New York school officials that the law requiring all school districts (serving grades six through 12) to provide free feminine hygiene products in restrooms is now in effect. According to the Governor’s website, the new law, which went into effect on July 1, was designed to ensure all young women have equal access to these feminine hygiene products when the 2018-19 school year began.

Access to menstrual products in schools reportedly helps ensure equality for women and girls in New York. Research from the World Bank suggests that girls' inability to manage their menstrual hygiene in school results in absenteeism, which in turn has severe economic costs on their lives.

Additionally, studies have shown that lack of awareness of good feminine hygiene practices can result in serious health consequences for women and girls, and the United Nations has stated that the right to menstrual hygiene is a human right.

In addition to legislation in New York, many student-led initiatives are also underway at colleges and universities around the country.

According to a report in Newsweek, Brown University, in Rhode Island, was one of the first higher-education institutions to implement a free tampon program. The initiative was led by Brown’s student body president, who — with the help of fellow students — hand delivered menstrual products to all nonresidential restrooms and committed to replenishing stocks once a week.

At North Carolina State University, members of the student government have rolled out a similar initiative.