Santa Clara County has taken a stand for menstrual equity, approving a plan to stock restrooms in in all county facilities with free period products.
The referral approved unanimously by the Board of Supervisors Tuesday covers public and employee bathrooms of all genders at county facilities, “just as there are free paper towels and toilet paper,” Supervisor Cindy Chavez explained in a news release.
“Menstrual equity is equal access to hygiene products,” said Chavez, who pitched the idea. “Hygiene products, including menstrual products are a necessity. Much like soap and toilet paper, if we did not have those readily and freely available, we would be facing serious health consequences. There shouldn’t be any shame or stigma attached to menstruating or period products. It’s a natural bodily function.”
Supervisors in December had allocated $1 million to provide period products to disadvantaged communities during the pandemic. The move came after the county identified more than 63,000 people as experiencing “period poverty,” referring to people who cannot afford period products and other necessities.
The board also voted to support a bill by Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia (D-Downey) that would offer free access to period products in public schools, community colleges, state college campuses and state and municipal buildings.