New York City Will Provide Tampons In Schools, Jails, And Homeless Shelters, Like Every City Should

Praise, well, praise whoever you feel like praising — New York City is getting tampons in certain public places. Public schools, jails, and homeless shelters will provide “menstrual products” (how proper!) to women, free of charge, no special requests necessary. Mayor Bill de Blasio still needs to sign the law passed Tuesday, but his administration supports it, so there there shouldn’t be any issues. This puts a previously half-assed policy into actual law, and every single city in America should follow suit.

The idea of free tampons and pads is mainly new to schools, which will have to supply them in restrooms instead of the nurses office, because officials swear up and down that homeless shelters and jails already do supply free menstrual supplies by request. Advocates and inmates know that shit isn’t true, though. At the very least, those institutions are going to have to get better at hiding their lack of products now that the law requires they provide them and they will be breaking it the first time a woman doesn’t have a tampon or pad. Oh, those menstrual cups from Orange is the New Black’s CorrectionsCon would probably be easier and cheaper in the long run, but since even New York City lawmakers have to call pads and tampons, “menstrual products,” a free cup you shove up your vagina is a long way coming.


Spoiler alert: tampons in jail play a huge role in the new season of Orange is the New Black, when new rules make tampons and pads “inessential,” and the inmates have to buy them from the commissary for ten bucks a box. Then, the commissary runs out, and tampons become like cigarettes, bartered for cash and everything. It’s completely fucking miserable, as you can imagine, and true to life — only about half of women are given enough pads or tampons to get them through their cycle in prison. So, making it a law provides so much more protection for women bleeding in a jail cell.

The school aspect is also pretty forward thinking. Even back in the day, the paid dispensers were never filled. It sounds like nowadays if a girl needs a tampon or pad on the fly, she has to go to the nurses’ office, which is all around a hassle (and makes you late to class). This new law is seriously the best news ever.

City Councilwoman Julissa Ferreras-Copeland has already run the “menstrual equality” program in beta at a school in Queens, where the school had to budget for pads and tampons along with toilet paper, cleaning supplies, and everything else (just like women do in their very own homes). Initially, it will cost about $3.7 million to set up in 800 schools, and after that, it’s just under $2 million a year. There will be no more stupidly low caps in jails about the “supplies” women get, and women and girls in homeless shelters will have access to them without even costing the city more than $450,000  a year.

Ferreras-Copeland said in a statement, “Providing menstrual hygiene products privately, immediately and for free is also about sending a body-positive message by not perpetuating shame and humiliation, and acknowledging that women’s bodies, even those of women serving time in prison, deserve some dignity during their periods.” I kind of want to fucking hug her.

New York City is doing very good on the period front. There’s a bill sitting on the governor’s desk waiting to be signed (which everyone expects him to) to make tampons and pads sales-tax exempt. Because seriously, there is nothing luxurious about getting your period. It’s fucking awesome that girls won’t have to ask for a hall pass or women won’t have to ask a fucking corrections officer or some volunteer at the shelter to get her hands on a tampon, but why is this not a thing all over the place?

I mean, I know why — because a lot of people who run the world would like to believe that women don’t shed their uterine lining every month. Well, we do. Not having a tampon or a pad is akin to taking a shit without toilet paper. Yea, it’s like that.

Give us tampons and pads, and don’t make us ask for them. Come on, world.