Menstrual Equity Pilot To Provide Free Period Products & Education At BPL

Menstrual bag with cotton tampons and sanitary pads

Photo: Getty Images

BOSTON (WBZ NewsRadio) — People across Boston will now be able to grab free menstrual pads and tampons at a number of Boston Public Library locations as part of a new partnership with Mayor Michelle Wu, the Mayor's Office of Women's Advancement (MOWA) and the BPL.

“Ensuring that residents have equitable access to menstrual products is critical for their health and well-being,” said Mayor Michelle Wu. “As we work to make Boston a city for everyone, we are excited to launch this Menstrual Equity Pilot Initiative that uses our City’s public libraries across neighborhoods to remove barriers and provide critical products and services to residents and families.”

The service won't just bring free materials to women getting a visit from Aunt Flow, the library will also offer educational programs from Love You Menses Inc. The program will run from September through December and aim to provide information about menstruation, while helping to remove the stigma often paired with 'that time of the month.'

"These workshops will be a safe space for all to come and ask questions and become an advocate for menstruators in Boston," said Dr. Ebere Azumah, Co-Founder and President, Love Your Menses, Inc.

What's more the period products will be available in both male and female bathrooms, as well as gender neutral facilities at six locations, including Brighton, Codman Square, East Boston, North End, Mattapan and Roxbury.

"I am excited about the Menstrual Equity Initiative launch at numerous libraries across Boston. Last year, I held a hearing to explore how the City could provide free menstrual products in municipal buildings,” said Councilor Gabriella Coletta. “I am proud that we are breaking barriers by providing products that over half of the population uses, but remain unaffordable for many."

“Menstrual products can cost families at least $216 per person, per year,” said Mariangely Solis Cervera, Chief of Equity and Inclusion. “We understand that many families are struggling with the rising cost of living, and it is our belief that essential products, like pads and tampons, should not be a financial burden.”

“This is an initial step towards ending Period Poverty in the city that we hope will expand to making menstrual products accessible in all public buildings,” said Alexandra Valdez, Executive Director of the Mayor's Office of Women’s Advancement. “MOWA is committed to supporting all aspects of women’s health and overall well-being by focusing on initiatives that impact women throughout their lives such as menstrual education and product access, reproductive rights, and maternal health, especially those in communities that are underrepresented."

Branch Locations & Workshops Schedule:

Codman Square - 1st Tuesday of each month at 3 p.m.

690 Washington St, Boston, MA 02124

Mattapan - 1st Wednesday of each month at 4 p.m.

1350 Blue Hill Ave, Mattapan, MA 02126

East Boston - 2nd Tuesday of the month at 4:30 p.m.

365 Bremen St, Boston, MA 02128

North End - 2nd Wednesday of each month at 6 p.m.

25 Parmenter St, Boston, MA 02113

Brighton - 3rd Tuesday of each month at 3 p.m.

40 Academy Hill Rd, Brighton, MA 02135

Roxbury - 3rd Wednesday of each month at 4 p.m.

149 Dudley Street Roxbury, MA 02119

"Menstrual products are an essential item just like toilet paper and should be available where menstruators need them, in the bathroom,” said Sasha Goodfriend, State President of the Massachusetts Chapter of the National Organization for Women (Mass NOW). “The City of Boston's menstrual equity initiative is an innovative strategy to meet the needs of people experiencing period poverty. The cost of these products has been passed down to menstruators for generations and it is time that Boston considers menstrual dignity a human right."

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