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Free Feminine Products in Cleveland City Hall and Cleveland Recreation Centers Now Available

Dec 13, 2022

Cleveland (Dec. 12, 2022) – Women in Cleveland and across the country routinely pay more money for basic health simply because they are women.  Councilwoman Jasmin Santana recognized this inequity and sponsored legislation (Ordinance #925-2021) in late 2021 pushing the City of Cleveland to provide free and accessible feminine hygiene products in all restrooms in City Hall and in the city’s Neighborhood Resource and Recreation Centers.

It took some time, but now free feminine hygiene products are now available in City Hall and in all Neighborhood Resource and Recreation Centers.

National organizations such as the Free the Tampons Foundation are devoted to fighting for freely accessible menstrual products in in every restroom outside of the home. Councilwoman Santana and Cleveland City Council are leading the fight locally to make that happen.

Recognizing the impact of the ordinance for women’s equity, the majority of Council signed on as co-sponsors. The cost of hygiene products can add up quickly and in introducing the legislation, Councilwoman Santana sought to help decrease the burden on women and girls who may struggle to afford feminine hygiene products. And even while feminine hygiene products like tampons and pads are medically necessary, they are rarely provided, while toilet paper and other sanitary products are universally expected.

“With the recent assault on women’s rights at the federal level, I know we must do more at the local level to support women. Now that we have free feminine hygiene products in the buildings our community visits most frequently, I can say I’m proud to have inspired change. This is just one step in Council’s work for Clevelanders,” Councilwoman Santana said.

Access to feminine hygiene products has been shown to improve the lives of young women during menstruation by increasing school attendance, reducing stigma, and increasing their confidence. A 2019 St. Louis University study revealed that low-income women struggle to pay for the needed items.

When passed, the legislation noted that access to free products in public buildings is important considering the financial burdens on women; on average, one woman spends $13.25 to $20 each month on menstrual products, totaling at least $6,360 in her reproductive lifetime.