“Menstrual hygiene products are as necessary as toilet paper — and no one is freaking out about toilet paper.” – New York City Councilwoman Julissa Ferreras-Copeland.
Did you know that on average, a woman will spend over $18,000 in her lifetime on feminine hygiene products? The cost of feminine hygiene products such as tampons and pads is astronomical and many of us cringe when we realize we are out of these products and have to go buy more. Did you know it costs $6 for a box of tampons? Ridiculous.
What I find even more ridiculous and shocking is that many women cannot afford or have access to feminine hygiene products. Can you imagine not having a tampon or a pad when you desperately need it? The majority of women in society who do not have access to feminine hygiene products are those that are in schools, prisons, and living in and out of homeless shelters. Thankfully, Lady Liberty decided to step in and help out her fellow woman. On June 21st, with a ‘unanimous’ vote, New York became the first state to guarantee women who need them most have access to FREE feminine hygiene products.
Many women in New York are living paycheck to paycheck, which means they cannot always buy in bulk. Being homeless often times means choosing feminine hygiene over food or shelter. What I found most surprising is that nearly 300,000 students in New York City schools do not have access to feminine hygiene products. As women, we all know and have personally experienced the embarrassment of not having a pad or tampon readily available. It’s not pleasant.
The situation for women who have their periods while in prison is even worse. Most women cannot afford to purchase pads while incarcerated and some are completely denied access to any kind of sanitary pad. The other issue is having dozens of women living together for long periods of time. Have you ever noticed that your best friend or the group of women you associate with begin to have their periods around the same time as yours? Another embarrassing factor is that the majority of guards in prison are men and many women are too embarrassed to ask for a clean pad or tampon.
By giving these women access to free tampons, pads and other feminine products they can now cope with dreaded Aunt Flo. New York is finally easing the stressful burden of being a woman and having a period. This is a step in the right direction for easing the embarrassment of periods and taking a stand for women around the world.