The Labor Government has announced today that they will provide state schools with free pads and tampons. This initiative aims to reduce the stigma of periods, while ensuring schools are more inclusive for girls.
The sanitary items will be available free of charge in school toilets, allowing students to have access to pads and tampons when they need them. The scheme is also supported by the idea that it will save families’ money.
The $20.7 million investment will be rolled out in all government primary and secondary schools across Victoria. A pilot program has begun at three schools this week, and by the end term two next year, all schools will have access to the sanitary items.
The Minister for Women and Youth Gabrielle Williams believes that this program will help breakdown the taboo subject of periods.
“While getting your period is a normal part of life, for some young girls it can be a source of anxiety or embarrassment,” she said.
The Andrew’s Government suggests that a lack of access to sanitary items can negatively impact student participation, and affect a student’s ability to concentrate, feel comfortable and confident.
Furthermore, according to a study conducted by the South Australian Department for Education, approximately 20 percent of teenage girls miss school from one to seven days per month because of their periods.
The scheme was announced during last year’s state election campaign. As the first initiative of its kind in Australia, Premier Daniel Andrews places importance on female dignity and inclusiveness.
“Getting your period shouldn’t be a barrier to getting a great education,” he said.
Personal care and hygiene products brand, Asaleo Care, will be providing state schools with sanitary items. Schools will also have access to free bins for sanitary products.
The Andrews Government announced that as part of the initiative, students will also receive essential health information about periods and how to manage them.
Photo: ‘Women’s sanitary supplies on a pink background’ By Marco Verch available here
Monique Naumovski is a second year Bachelor of Media and Communications (Journalism) student at La Trobe University. You can follow her on Twitter @moniquenaum.