DON THOMPSON | Associated Press
According to a bill signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom on Friday, California public schools and colleges are required to supply their toilets with free menstrual cycle products.
The move is a result of women’s rights advocates across the country pushing for affordable access to pads, tampons and other items.
California’s latest efforts are based on a 2017 law requiring low-income schools in disadvantaged areas to provide free menstrual products to students.
It is expanding the law to include grades 6 through 12, community colleges, and the California State University and UCLA systems, starting in the 2022-23 school year. He encourages private schools and colleges to follow suit.
“Our biology doesn’t always send advance warning when we’re about to start menstruating, which often means we need to stop whatever we do and cope with menstruation,” Democratic Assembly member Christina Garcia said of her legislation. “Just like toilet paper and paper towels are in almost all public bathrooms, menstrual products should be there, too.”
According to the advocacy group Women’s Voices for Earth, several other states have considered or required free menstrual products in public schools. Last year, Purdue University in Indiana decided to offer free feminine hygiene products in campus bathrooms.
“California joins a growing number of states leading the way in demonstrating that menstrual fairness is a human rights issue,” advocacy group PERIOD said in a statement. “No student should ever lose school time due to periods, periods.”
California also previously removed the menstrual cycle food tax, which cost women about $ 20 million a year.
Women’s Voices for Earth says more than half of the states continue to tax menstrual products as “luxury goods.” Such taxes have been abolished in many countries around the world, including the UK, Australia, Canada and India.