Destigmatizing menstruation - Newly passed Comprehensive Gender Equity Package by the New York City Council | New York

The New York City Council passed a series of legislation in December, not only responding to noise pollution and vacant residential units issue, but also menstrual stigmatization, disproportionate burden to people in poverty on menstrual product acquirement, and the inadequacy of menstrual provision in the city.

To meet the menstrual needs of people in different gender, the City Council would have to use the term "menstrual products" to refer to products in connection with menstrual cycles, rather than “feminine hygiene product”, under the new bill. Such change also shows the Council’s determination to rectify the sexist and queerphobic euphemisms in describing menstrual products in an inclusive and direct way.

As students have their menarche earlier than before, they are not entitled to gain access to free menstrual products until grade 6 under the present practice. The new bill extends to eligibility to grade 4 to unsure students could gain timely support.

Besides, menstrual cups will also be included in the current legal definition of “menstrual products”, so that single use menstrual cups and reusable menstrual cups will be available for access in the future. Units like temporary shelters, and youth detention facilities would be required to provide menstrual cups to people in need of them, while people in custody could also request such cups while in and upon custody.

The Department of Education would have to produce annual report on product provisions, and to collaborate with the Commission of Gender Equity to produce informative materials to Grade 4 to 12 students.

Speaker Adrienne Adams said such legislative package aims to destigmatize menstruation, to improve the health and well-being of, and to provide basic human dignity to menstruates in New York. The Council is proud to make such move as priority as the first women-majority Council.