New Zealand — Schoolgirls will be given free sanitary products as part of the government’s fight against period poverty.
The rollout will start in low socio-economic areas before expanding nationwide and being offered to state-integrated schools on an opt-in basis in 2021.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said sanitary products is a necessity as many young women in NZ were missing school because they cannot afford a sanitary pad or tampon.
‘’We know that nearly 95,000 nine-to-18-year-olds may stay at home during their periods due to not being able to afford period products,’’ Ardern said. “By making them freely available, we support these young people to continue learning at school.’’
KidsCan, a charity organization in New Zealand conducted a survey participating 5,000 young women and found out that some of them were using toilet paper, rags, or newspapers as they couldn’t afford proper sanitary products.
One in 12 students is reported to miss school because they lack access to sanitary products.
Julie Anne Genter, Minister for Women said the campaign helped raise awareness of the issue.
“Menstruation is a fact of life for half the population and access to these products is a necessity, not a luxury,” Genter said.
“We want an Aotearoa New Zealand where all people have access to education and the things they need to live a good life – I am so pleased this Government is finding ways of helping children and young people, at a time when every extra bit of assistance is important.”
The roll-out comes amid growing concerns the coronavirus pandemic will see more families struggle to have sanitary products.