The Municipal Assembly of Lisbon approved on Tuesday a proposal by the Socialist Party (PS) to distribute free reusable period products in public schools to students. This measure is meant to combat period poverty, as well as promote sustainable practices. Reusable pads and cups will be distributed to over 100 public schools in Lisbon. In addition, the proposal passed urges for the start of campaigns that combat disinformation and stigma surrounding menstruation. Lisbon is the first city in Portugal to enact such a measure to combat period poverty.
The far-right party Enough (Chega) and the center-right party Liberal Initiative (IL) voted against the measure, along with a member of the Christian center-right party CDS-PP. The following parties voted in favor of the measure: the Socialist Party (PS), the Left Bloc (BE), the Communist Party (PCP), People-Animals-Nature (PAN), Free (Livre), and two independents of the PS/Free coalition in Lisbon.
CDS-PP, Enough (Chega), and the Liberal Initiative (IL) believe this proposal is discriminatory, a response that has angered many on social media. A member of the Liberal Initiative (IL), Angelique de Teresa told TSF that this measure creates an “apartheid” within the public sector, discriminating against students in private schools. She believes period products should be accessible to all by reducing prices in supermarkets. A member of the far-right party Enough (Chega), Patricia Branco also believes the measure is discriminatory by excluding private school students and even stated that it excludes men who need to purchase shaving products.
The party Free (Livre) who votes in favor hopes that the distribution of period products will be conducted inclusively by including transgender students. The party is also urging for an improvement in education surrounding menstruation to combat period stigma. People-Animals-Nature (PAN), another party that voted in favor of the measure hopes that this measure will be extended to other sections of the population, such as women who are facing homelessness.
Take a look at our article on the Portuguese Political System to find out about the democratic process in Portugal.
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