.County Addresses Menstrual Equity

Pilot program provides free menstrual products at County buildings

Santa Cruz County launched a pilot program on April 5 to provide free menstrual products in restrooms in select county facilities.

The program aims to assist low-income residents who struggle to afford menstrual products, said county spokesperson Jason Hoppin.

“We don’t want people to have to choose between the basic necessities in life,” Hoppin said. “It’s an economic equity issue that we care about.”

The dispensers, which were also installed in men’s restrooms, carry pads and tampons.

In 2021, the State Legislature passed the Menstrual Equity for All Act requiring free menstrual products to be provided at public schools, state universities and community college districts. Several local jurisdictions, including the city of Capitola and the County of Santa Clara, offer free menstrual products in government facilities as well.

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“Free and equal access to health products promotes health equity … I’m pleased the county is joining a growing movement in addressing these inequities,” Supervisor Zach Friend said.

Free menstrual products will be offered at the following locations:  

  • 1080 Emeline Ave., Santa Cruz, First & Second floors  
  • 1020 Emeline Ave., Santa Cruz, First & Second floors  
  • 701 Ocean St., Santa Cruz, First & Fifth floors 
  • 1430 Freedom Blvd., Watsonville, Suites B, C & D 


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Tarmo Hannula
Tarmo Hannula has been the lead photographer with The Pajaronian newspaper in Watsonville since 1997. He also reports on a wide range of topics, including police, fire, environment, schools, the arts and events. A fifth generation Californian, Tarmo was born in the Mother Lode of the Sierra (Columbia) and has lived in Santa Cruz County since the late 1970s. He earned a BA from UC Santa Cruz and has traveled to 33 countries.
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