In a revolutionary move, the New Zealand government has decided to make period products free for all girls in high school. The move, as per the government will end ‘period poverty’ and ensure no girl miss school due to periods
Prime minister, Jacinda Ardern said sanitary supplies for a monthly period were not a luxury, but a necessity adding that many girls can’t afford pads and tampons.
The Guardian reports that schools in deprived areas were forced to use toilet paper, newspaper and rags in an attempt to manage their period.
As of now, fifteen Waikato schools, which are most in the need of the period products, have been identified and will be provided the same. The initiative will go nationwide in 2021.
“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. By making them freely available, we support these young people to continue learning at school,” The Guardian quote Arden as saying.
A local NGO named Dignity lauded the PM’s decision and said that it would empower the girl child in the future to come.
“For students, a lack of access to period products not only exacerbates feelings of shame and a gendered financial burden but has shown to increase absenteeism,” The Guardian quoted Miranda Hitchings. co-founder of Dignity as saying.
She further said, “It’s a fantastic investment from our government. However, this is just the beginning. Period poverty doesn’t just affect students. It’s a subset of poverty, and many other groups, like those experiencing homelessness and income loss, deeply feel the implications from a lack of access to products.”
Reports suggest that at least 12% of girls face a scarcity of sanitary products in their day to day lives and at least one out of the 12 misses school during the mensurating week.
Earlier, Scotland has become the first country in the world to make period products free for women.