Menstrual hygiene, or the lack of it, has always been a topic of discussion all over the world. But over the last couple of years, many countries have stepped up to eliminate period poverty to ensure that their citizens have access to sanitary products for a clean, healthy period.
New Zealand is the latest country to introduce their measures in order to curb period poverty. Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, announced on February 18th, that all schools in the country will be given free access to sanitary products. This announcement comes shortly after they launched a pilot programme last year wherein free period products were provided to about 3,200 students in 15 schools.
In a statement, she mentioned, “Providing free period products at school is one way the Government can directly address poverty, help increase school attendance, and make a positive impact on children’s well-being.”
Ardern also aims to do away with the stigma attached with period, which makes young girls miss out on their schooling as they are often embarrassed or fear being ‘caught’ by peers. Most don’t have access to menstrual hygiene products owing to their different price points. “We want to see improved engagement, learning and behavior, fewer young people missing school because of their period, and reduced financial hardship amongst families of participating students,” she added.
The government is looking at working with suppliers for a phased rollout of the scheme.
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