BOSTON (WHDH) - A new pilot program is aiming to make menstrual products more accessible in Boston by offering free menstrual products and education programs at some Boston Public Library branches.
Boston Mayor Michelle Wu and the Mayor’s Office of Women’s Advancement announced the program on friday of last week in partnership with the Boston Public Library and the nonprofit “Love Your Menses.”
Separately speaking with 7NEWS, one of the program’s organizers said the effort is an important step to slash the stigma around menstruation.
“It’s important to remove the stigma associated with menstruation,” said Love Your Menses Co-Founder and President Ebere Azumah. “It’s something, I think, that is simple, that we can correct and that can be corrected with education.”
Through the program, free pads and tampons will be available in all female, male and gender neutral bathrooms at the Brighton, Codman Square, East Boston, North End, Mattapan and Roxbury branches of the Boston Public Library system.
Love Your Menses is also going to hold monthly workshops at library branches.
The group’s mission, Azumah said, is to dispel myths surrounding menstruation and help the next generation by giving them a safe space to learn.
“We know that the stigma is culturally indoctrinated — not by bad people — but it’s just something we’ve never challenged,” Azumah said.
Menstrual products can cost families more than $200 per person, per year. With that cost in mind, the new initiative in Boston is designed to help anyone struggling with the rising cost of living.
“Our goal is to enlighten people and say ‘Menstrual equity is a thing,’” Azumah said. “’There are people who have no resources to buy period products.’”
The Boston Mayor’s Office has said this is a beginning step toward the goal of ending period poverty in Boston.
In the end, Azumah said, when period products are free or affordable and when people who menstruate are not shamed, “then we have accomplished what we’ve set out to do.”
Organizers are hoping to expand access to menstrual products in all public buildings in the future.
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