Governor of California Gavin Newsom signed a law Friday forcing state schools and colleges to stockpile free menstrual products in toilets for women, all genders, and at least one for men starting next year.
The Menstrual Fairness for All Act requires public schools with grades 6 to 12 to provide free towels and tampons to students in half of school bathrooms.
The bill also extends to California State University – and its 23 campuses – and state public community colleges. Additionally, he urges regents at the University of California and other private institutions to take similar steps and advocate for women’s health.
“Our biology doesn’t always send an early warning when we’re about to start having our period, which often means we have to stop whatever we are doing and manage our periods. Often, menstruation comes at the wrong time ”, Cristina Garcia, the legislator who introduced the law, noted in a report.
“Having convenient and free access to these products means that our time will not prevent us from being productive members of society and lessen the anxiety of trying to find a product in public,” Garcia added.
Garcia has been a strong voice for women, even calling herself a “Vintage Princess”. The California politician was also part of a previous law that removed the state tax on menstrual products, saving women $ 20 million a year.
The inspiration behind the Menstrual Fairness Act was a Scottish bill passed in 2020 requiring all public places to offer free menstrual products.
“Just as toilet paper and paper towels are provided in virtually every public bathroom, menstrual products should be too. It is time for us to recognize and respond to the biology of half the population by prioritizing free access to menstrual products and removing all barriers to them, ”Garcia said.