A one-of-a-kind program is being launched in New York City public school restrooms that will provide dispensers with free feminine hygiene products.
New York City Council Member Julissa Ferreras-Copeland and the New York City Department of Education announced the initiative last week. It is part of Ferreras-Copeland's long-standing effort to "reduce health risks, increase access to essential feminine care for low-income girls, and promote dignity and respect for girls' menstruation," according to a statement released by her office.
"No young woman should face losing class time because she is too embarrassed to ask for, can't afford or simply cannot access feminine hygiene product," Ferreras-Copeland said. "Today, I am proud to be a New Yorker and live in the city that's leading this effort to bring greater access to essential feminine care products for young women."
The installation of the free dispensers inside 25 middle and high schools in Queens and The Bronx came after Ferreras-Copeland led a successful pilot program at the High School for Arts and Business, where attendance went up from 90 percent to 92.4 percent after the installation of the free dispensers and fewer girls were excusing themselves from class throughout the day.
In total, 11,600 girls in two of the most impoverished areas of the city will receive free sanitation products. The Department of Education estimates initial costs for the program to be approximately $160,000.
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