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California Requires Schools to Provide Sanitary Pads Even in Boys’ Restrooms

In the name of “menstrual equity,” the governor of California signed a law requiring public schools and universities to distribute free menstrual products.

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A new law signed by California Governor Gavin Newsom requires all public schools and universities in the state to stock their bathrooms with free menstrual products, with the particularity that at least one men’s restroom must also comply with the mandate.

California: “menstrual equity”

The rule, known as the Menstrual Equity for All Act, mandates that starting in the 2022-2023 academic year, women’s restrooms “of all genders” and at least one men’s restroom will be stocked with products such as free tampons and pads.

The law, signed by Newsom, builds on a 2017 law that requires schools in low-income areas to provide students with menstrual products free of charge.

The new regulation also requires the California State University and each community college district to have an adequate supply of free menstrual products in no less than one “designated, accessible central location” on each campus, such as student centers, libraries, wellness or health centers, pantries and study halls.

“Our biology doesn’t always send an early warning when we’re about to start menstruating, which often means we have to stop what we’re doing and deal with a period,” Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia, a Democrat who championed the new law, said in a statement.

“We need to keep going until products are as readily available as toilet paper,” she added.

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A similar bill was signed into law in May by Washington Governor Jay Inslee. The law requires public school districts and private schools across the state to place free menstrual products in all women’s and “gender-neutral” restrooms by the start of the 2022-2023 school year.

Under Washington law, if the school does not have a “gender-neutral” restroom, then the products must be available in at least one designated men’s and boys’ restroom or school health room.

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