Starting in the 2022-2023 school year, public schools and colleges in California will be required to stock their restrooms with free menstrual products under a new law signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom. The bill even requires they be available in men’s restrooms.
“What we’re doing here in California is unprecedented in both nature and scale,” Newsom stated in a press release.
The Menstrual Equity for All Act, expands the existing law which included the products in low-income schools, to include every public school with grades 6 through 12. It asserts it is to maintain “an adequate supply of free menstrual products in all women’s restrooms and all-gender restrooms, and in at least one men’s restroom.”
“As a nonmenstruating individual, I don’t have to worry about where my toilet paper is going to be or if I’m going to have access to toilet paper when I’m in the bathroom,” freshman Jason Chen told CalMatters .
The new law also requires the California State University and each community college district to stock an adequate supply of free menstrual products at no fewer than one “designated and accessible central location” on each campus, such as student centers, libraries, wellness or health centers, pantries, and study rooms. Private schools and colleges are encouraged to follow suit.
The aspect of the law mandating products in boys and men’s restrooms was met with a collective roll of the eyes by social media users.
A similar bill was signed into law in May by Washington Gov. Jay Inslee. The law requires that public school districts and private schools across the state place free menstrual products in all gender-neutral and women’s restrooms by the beginning of the 2022-2023 school year.
Critics, in addition to pointing out that men do not menstruate, say that the millions budgeted for the free products could be better spent addressing the state’s massive homeless crisis.