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Boston councilors to consider free menstrual products in schools and other city buildings

The City Council on Wednesday will consider a proposal by councilors Matt O'Malley (West Roxbury, Jamaica Plain) and Lydia Edwards (North End, Charlestown, East Boston) to have public schools, libraries, community centers and other municipal buildings stock free menstrual products in women's rooms.

In a proposal for a hearing on the idea of joining Brookline in offering the products through dispensing machines, they write that more than 16% of Bostonians are below the poverty level and that:

A lack of access to menstrual products can contribute to a variety of health, social, and professional challenges.

Although a group called Catie's Closet now provides the products to 23 Boston schools, there are roughly 50 others that could benefit from having the products easily available.

The council's regular meeting begins at noon in its fifth-floor chambers in City Hall. The councilors will like send the proposal to a council committee for a public hearing before taking a vote.



It's about time!


This makes sense & is an issue often ignored! Thank you Councilors O’Malley & Edwards...


If we're going to provide, without charge, toilet paper, soap, hand sanitizer, and paper towels, why are we not, as a matter of course, providing tampons etc. the same way?


Because not everyone has watched the Netflix documentary.

A friend who's a business owner noted the importance of free availability of these products for more then just ethical reasons. They commented how if not offered, people are going to need to leave their assigned duties to go and buy them. So strictly from a productivity standpoint, it's the right thing to do.


You won't see paper towels available in city buildings.

42 in less than 3 and a half hours. These are adamg numbers. I wish I had thought of this post.

I scoffed at this idea at first, but your argument makes way too much sense. I say now, go for it!

I worked 18 years in public archives and libraries in eastern MA. I don't know how many tampons I gave to patrons, and it was no where near the number that reference librarians and front desk workers gave.

At one historic site, where we were nowhere near a store, we employees kept a kitty going next to the break room coffee pot to keep a basket of tampons & pads stocked in the bathroom.

We did that because our employer provided free coffee but not period products.

Anyway, the big beneficiaries will be teens. Huge help for kids whose families are struggling for basics.


Puberty is difficult enough.


I'm almost sure every place I've ever worked has had them in the ladies rooms.

My current place of work has nothing available in the bathrooms and the place I used to work had a vending machine (and not one of those free vending machines that you see sometimes).


I have friends whose 9yr. old daughters are getting their periods... this was unheard of in my generation. Let's help these girls out!

Big Brother does targeted pickups in my neighborhood that are seemingly undisturbed...why can't the city fund them?

You posted this for the wrong article.

Still, you've got me thinking of things that Big Brother (the non-profit organization, not another phrase for the government) might do.

This is wonderful but- once word gets out, doesn’t it get expensive? I would stop buying them if I could go to the local and pilfer a supply. Hmmm.

I have to admit: I've never heard of somebody being arrested for illegal possession of them.


Buying in Bulk

And if the feminine hygiene products are like the toilet paper and paper towels in most bathrooms.. you won't be getting "Tampax" or "Always" branded products, but generic brands of lower quality.


Nonsense argument. That's like saying, "Won't this encourage menstruation?"

were given the opportunity, we would menstruate every week, tell you what.

it's such a fun time, I don't do it more only because of the cost.

Sure it'd be nice to give everyone free feminine products but - what's the cost? Nothing's free. Every dollar spent on this is a dollar not spent on police, or the homeless, or addiction recovery, or [whatever your favorite issue is].

And what keeps people from abusing the system, and using this as their free supply of products? Or just pocketing a few and taking them home?

I dunno. Probably the same thing that keeps them from stealing the paper towels and toilet roll.


You can't steal a toilet paper roll from a public bathroom because the dispenser is locked. You could unroll it and take a massive fluffy bunch, but then what would you do with it?

Tampons, on the other hand, would be easy to carry and use if you took a whole bunch of them.

This initiative will ensure that there's an empty tampon dispenser in every rest room. Unless they're of really poor quality, and even then they might get stolen.

Let's take all the toilet paper out of the men's restrooms. I bet we'd save a lot of money that way. You can just carry your own, right Lunchbox? I mean, what keeps people from abusing the system?


the homeless

today I learned there are no such thing as homeless women

These are MENSTRUAL products. No one is stealing these for fun. If you have a bleeding orifice like this, then you wouldn't think about this way. Menstrual supplies are needed by ALL WITH UTERSUSES - this especially includes homeless women who will also benefit from this...thus putting money towards what you say this is taking money away from.