Sydney May Become the First Australian City to Offer Free Menstrual Pads and Tampons


Last month, New York City passed legislation that grants access to free menstrual products in public buildings like schools, correctional facilities and homeless shelters. 

Now, Australia wants to follow in the Big Apple's footsteps. Sydney City Councilor Edward Mandla recently created a landmark proposal to offer free sanitary products in all council buildings. He also aimed to provide free period essentials, such as pads and tampons, at public buildings across the city. 

"We should be able to provide free and easily accessible sanitary items in our libraries, in our homeless facilities, as well as in public pools and sporting facilities," Mandla told Mashable Australia. "Providing free sanitary items is a low-cost, a high-impact solution." The city council is set to vote on the issue on Monday. 

Rich Pedroncelli/AP

Just like most of the United States, Australia leviestax on menstrual products, even though some activists have campaigned to eradicate the policy

. An estimate published by the advocacy group Safe World for Women argued the average Australian woman spends up to an extra  $ 1,000 on sanitary products thanks to these taxes.

Mandla's proposal is revolutionary because he wants to provide free tampons and pads at public buildings, such as homeless shelters and libraries. These facilities often serve underprivileged communities, which are hit the hardest by high prices of feminine hygiene products. Guaranteeing access to basic sanitary products could provide an enormous help to menstruating residents.  


While the proposal is waiting for a vote, Australians are applauding Sydney's first step toward menstrual equality. Some Aussies are showing it's time to say it loud and proud: Equality for people with periods is a human rights issue, and period products are an essential, not a luxury.