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Hawaiʻi schools may soon provide free menstrual products to students

Girls march down the school hall with their period products on display.
LA Johnson
/
NPR

Hawaiʻi has a menstrual equality bill on the table after two years of negotiations.

The Senate and House unanimously passed a bill Tuesday that would require all public and charter schools to provide menstrual products free of charge to students.

Students from Ilima Intermediate School in Ewa showed their support at the conference holding handmade signs.

If signed into law, the measure will include $2 million in state funding.

Nonprofit organization Maʻi Movement Hawaiʻi supported the bill by conducting a pilot research project addressing menstrual inequality.

Nikki-Ann Yee is the co-founder of the Maʻi Movement. She talked to HPR with excitement, saying, "That has been, you know, probably one of the best experiences throughout this whole session — the amount of civic engagement from students."

"And I also want to highlight the fact that we had both public and private school students. Because you know, at the end of the day, it's not just about the socio-economic injustice, but just addressing that menstruation is something that should be normalized and that this is a basic need that should be available anywhere. Doesn't matter if you go to public or private school," Yee explained.

It now moves on to Gov. David Ige to be signed into law.

Zoe Dym is a news producer at Hawaiʻi Public Radio.
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