SACRAMENTO – Public schools and colleges in California must stock their toilets with free menstrual products under a bill signed by Governor Gavin Newsom on Friday.

The move comes as women’s rights activists lobby across the country for affordable access to sanitary napkins, tampons and other items.

California’s latest effort builds on a 2017 law requiring low-income schools in disadvantaged areas to provide students with free menstrual products.

It expands the law to include grades 6 through 12, community colleges, and the California State University and University of California systems, starting in the 2022-2023 school year. He encourages private schools and colleges to follow suit.

“Our biology doesn’t always send an advanced warning when we’re about to start menstruating, which often means we have to stop whatever we’re doing and face a period,” the Democratic MP said. Cristina Garcia on her legislation. “Just as toilet paper and paper towels are provided in virtually every public washroom, menstrual products should be as well.”

Several other states were considering or required free menstrual products in public schools, according to advocacy group Women’s Voices for the Earth. Purdue University in Indiana last year decided to offer free feminine hygiene products in campus bathrooms.

“California joins a growing number of states leading the way in demonstrating that menstrual equity is a human rights issue,” advocacy group PERIOD said in a statement. “No student should waste learning time because of their rules, period.”

California also previously repealed a tax on menstrual products that cost women about $ 20 million per year.

According to Women’s Voices for the Earth, more than half of states still tax menstrual products as “luxury” items. Around the world, many countries have eliminated these taxes, including Great Britain, Australia, Canada and India.

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