Ann Arbor becomes first US city to offer free menstrual products in public bathrooms Photograph:( Reuters )
The ordinance will go into effect from January 1, 2022. Any sort of violation can result in a $100 fine
An American city is taking the bold move to address the global issue of period poverty.
Ann Arbor in Michigan will soon require by law the providing of menstrual products in public restrooms. The city council has voted unanimously to pass an ordinance that requires all public restrooms to offer pads and tampons for free, as well as toilet paper and soap.
"City Council finds that soap, toilet paper, and menstrual products are all instrumental to the general health and welfare of the public. City Council also finds that ensuring that such products are readily available in public restrooms will help prevent the spread of germs, reduce the transmission of bloodborne pathogens, and improve the general public welfare," stated the authorities.
The ordinance will go into effect from January 1, 2022. Any sort of violation can result in a $100 fine.
Ann Arbor Mayor Christopher Taylor said, "It is a necessity and a long time coming." He added, "Access to these items is a matter of personal dignity, a human necessity and a health care right."
Taylor explained that the inspiration for this measure came after a young resident came to him with the idea. "A high school student came to me to express her concern that persons without established residences had difficulty obtaining menstrual products," he said.
He further explained how this got him into thinking over time. "And I asked staff to look and see whether we could obligate at all public restrooms in Ann Arbor provide the supplies because they're basic and fundamental for people," Taylor said.
"We can and we did," local media quoted him as saying.
Various other cities have similar measures. However, they just apply to municipal buildings or in schools.
Meanwhile, in February this year, the Scottish parliament advanced legislation that would ensure free universal access to tampons, pads and other menstrual products, in a huge stride for the global movement against period poverty.
(With inputs from agencies)