The Spanish region of Catalonia offers women and girls free and reusable menstruation products


BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Spain’s Catalonia region rolled out a pioneering women’s health initiative this week that offers millions of women and girls reusable menstruation products for free.

About 2.5 million women and girls in northeast Spain can receive one menstrual cup, one pair of underwear for periods and two packages of cloth pads at local pharmacies free of charge.

The Catalan government said that the initiative, which is called “My period, my rules,” was meant to “guarantee the right to menstrual equity.” The regional government cited statistics that said 23% of women polled by Catalonia’s public opinion office said they had reused hygiene products designed for a single use for economic reasons.

“For several decades now, the sexual and reproductive rights of women have been at the center of the feminist fight on a global scale,” said Tània Verge, Catalonia’s regional minister for equality and feminism. “This makes our country a more just place.”

The distribution of reusable products is also aimed at reducing waste. The regional government said that Catalonia produces about 9,000 tons of waste from single-use feminine hygiene products.

The reusable products are acquired by the public health care system, which covers the entire population, and distributed by Catalonia’s 3,000-plus private pharmacies. The program cost the regional government 8.5 million euros ($9.2 million).

Spain’s national government passed a law last year granting women with debilitating menstrual pain the right to paid medical leave.

Spain is gearing up for International Women’s Day on March 8, when the European country holds some of the biggest marches for women’s rights in the world.

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