US city requires free menstrual products in public restrooms

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Ann Arbor, Michigan, will soon demand menstrual products in public restrooms as it prepares to enact legislation that national advocates say is the first.

The city council voted unanimously to pass a law on Monday requiring all public restrooms in the university community of 120,000 residents – including those located inside businesses – to provide free tampons and tampons, as well as toilet paper and soap.

Violations of the ordinance, which will come into effect on January 1, 2022, will result in a fine of R$100, in accordance with legislation.

Ann Arbor Mayor Christopher Taylor, who proposed the ordinance, said “it’s a necessity and a long time to come.”

“Access to these items is a matter of personal dignity, a human need and a right to health,” Taylor said at the city council meeting on Monday.

The idea for this ordinance came from a conversation Taylor had with a high school student, during which she expressed concern about homeless people not having access to menstrual products, Taylor said.

A study in St. Louis, Missouri, published in 2019, found that nearly two-thirds of low-income women could not afford products at least once in the past year.

National nonprofit officials advocating greater access to menstrual products believe Ann Arbor is the first city in the United States to pass legislation that requires products beyond municipal buildings.

Michela Bedard, executive director of PERIOD., a non-profit organization that seeks to end the stigma and high costs of menstruation, told CNN: “It’s entirely possible that there is a very small town out there that made this decision, and it he did so without fanfare or meeting or help with advocacy. But, certainly, this is the first big city that has made waves like this one”.

Knowing that these products will be available in all public restrooms will ensure that inequalities caused by menstruation are mitigated and allow people to live uninhibited lives, said Nancy Kramer, founder of Free The Tampon, an organization that promotes equal toilets for leaders business and legislators.

“This really gives anyone who is menstruating a peace of mind that they currently don’t have,” Kramer said. “And it just helps us not have a level of embarrassment or potential humiliation.”

(Translated text. Read the original here).

Reference: CNN Brasil

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