Mayor Wu and Women's Advancement Announce Launch of Menstrual Equity Pilot
Mayor Michelle Wu and the Mayor’s Office of Women’s Advancement (MOWA) today announced the launch of a Menstrual Equity pilot in partnership with the Boston Public Library. The pilot will offer free menstrual pads and tampons from Aunt Flow, along with education programs from Love Your Menses Inc., at an initial six Boston Public Library branches: Brighton, Codman Square, East Boston, North End, Mattapan, and Roxbury. At each branch, product dispensers will be available for use in all female, male and gender neutral bathrooms at each location.
“Ensuring that residents have equitable access to menstrual products is critical for their health and well-being,” said Mayor Michelle Wu. “As we work to make Boston a city for everyone, we are excited to launch this Menstrual Equity Pilot Initiative that uses our City’s public libraries across neighborhoods to remove barriers and provide critical products and services to residents and families.”
"I am excited about the Menstrual Equity Initiative launch at numerous libraries across Boston. Last year, I held a hearing to explore how the City could provide free menstrual products in municipal buildings,” said Councilor Gabriella Coletta. “I am proud that we are breaking barriers by providing products that over half of the population uses, but remain unaffordable for many."
“This is an initial step towards ending Period Poverty in the city that we hope will expand to making menstrual products accessible in all public buildings,” said Alexandra Valdez, Executive Director of the Mayor's Office of Women’s Advancement. “MOWA is committed to supporting all aspects of women’s health and overall well-being by focusing on initiatives that impact women throughout their lives such as menstrual education and product access, reproductive rights, and maternal health, especially those in communities that are underrepresented."
Along with expanding access to menstrual products, Love Your Menses, Inc. will be hosting monthly workshops at each participating branch beginning this September through December 2023. These workshops will bring awareness to the program, provide residents with more information about menstruation and help remove the shame and stigma often associated with menstruation.
"These workshops will be a safe space for all to come and ask questions and become an advocate for menstruators in Boston," said Dr. Ebere Azumah, Co-Founder and President, Love Your Menses, Inc.
“Menstrual products can cost families at least $216 per person, per year,” said Mariangely Solis Cervera, Chief of Equity and Inclusion. “We understand that many families are struggling with the rising cost of living, and it is our belief that essential products, like pads and tampons, should not be a financial burden.”
“Patrons count on their branch library for so much more than books,” said Priscilla Foley, Boston Public Library’ Director of Neighborhood Services. “We are pleased to work in partnership to ensure that people with periods have access to the supplies they need, when and where they need them. The BPL is committed to ensuring that all people feel welcome in our spaces, and this program will further reinforce that mission.”
Branch Locations & Workshops Schedule:
Codman Square - 1st Tuesday of each month at 3 p.m.
690 Washington St, Boston, MA 02124
Mattapan - 1st Wednesday of each month at 4 p.m.
1350 Blue Hill Ave, Mattapan, MA 02126
East Boston - 2nd Tuesday of the month at 4:30 p.m.
365 Bremen St, Boston, MA 02128
North End - 2nd Wednesday of each month at 6 p.m.
25 Parmenter St, Boston, MA 02113
Brighton - 3rd Tuesday of each month at 3 p.m.
40 Academy Hill Rd, Brighton, MA 02135
Roxbury - 3rd Wednesday of each month at 4 p.m.
149 Dudley Street Roxbury, MA 02119
"Menstrual products are an essential item just like toilet paper and should be available where menstruators need them, in the bathroom,” said Sasha Goodfriend, State President of the Massachusetts Chapter of the National Organization for Women (Mass NOW). “The City of Boston's menstrual equity initiative is an innovative strategy to meet the needs of people experiencing period poverty. The cost of these products has been passed down to menstruators for generations and it is time that Boston considers menstrual dignity a human right.