In Tuesday's best news, the New York City Council voted to help alleviate an extra financial burden that women have long had to carry each month. Now, NYC will provide free tampons and pads to women and girls in three important places: prisons, public schools, and shelters. The city is making history as the first to pass such a measure but hopefully other cities will soon follow, because this is important legislation.
Let's start with the public schools part. When you're a teenage or preteen girl, getting your period is already fraught. What if you bleed through your white shorts, and everyone sees? What if your cramps are so bad you can't get out of bed? What if you never get it, and your life becomes Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret without the happy ending, and no one ever loves you, and you die of shame??
But if you're a teenage girl whose family operates on a tight budget, getting your period can turn into something much worse, since public assistance programs don't help with tampons and pads. Not everyone is so into free bleeding, and girls who can't get enough sanitary supplies may end up skipping out on school during their periods, or leaving tampons in far longer than they should, a risk that could lead to Toxic Shock Syndrome.
For these schoolgirls, as well as for women and girls in homeless shelters, tampons and pads will ideally, with this legislation, become as free and available as toilet paper. That is great since, as Councilwoman Julissa Ferreras-Copeland said before the unanimous vote on the proposal, "they're as necessary."
When it comes to prisons, The Cut has an excellent article about the ways in which the system fails menstruating inmates. Some highlights (or, rather, lowlights) include inmates having to "wear a single pad for multiple days," tampons regularly being unavailable except for exorbitant prices, and inmates who bleed through their clothes due to insufficient supplies not being able to change until laundry day. Once the new legislation is enacted, prisons in NYC will have to give inmates the necessary number of pads, as well as tampons if the inmates prefer them.
So basically, this legislation means that women will be treated with basic decency regarding a natural thing their bodies do. Now please excuse me while I post a series of gifs to express how I feel about this news.
Though New York City mayor Bill de Blasio still has to sign the legislation before it can take effect, his administration supports it, so that shouldn't be an obstacle. Soon, all NYC women and girls should be able to stop worrying about whether they can afford the necessary sanitary supplies, and go back to worrying about the more mundane things that bug you when you're bleeding for five days straight.