New Zealand to Make Sanitary Products Free for Girls
New Zealand just announced its tackling of period poverty by providing free sanitary products to girls in all state schools by 2021.
The government’s Health Research Council conducted a survey in 2019 that found one in 12 girls between the ages of 13 and 17 have reportedly stayed home from school because they couldn’t afford pads or tampons.
“By making them freely available, we support these young people to continue learning at school,“ said Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern in a statement. “This is another important initiative that sits alongside our work to reduce child poverty and hardship."
The government plans to spend $2.6 million to end period poverty and will begin its program with 15 schools in July before expanding to all state schools next year.
Period poverty around the world has only worsened with the coronavirus pandemic, as shortages of sanitary products and reduced access to water have been reported.
The Realist Woman’s take:
This story is a great reason why it's important to have women leaders in politics. Only a woman can understand the importance of menstrual products. Thousands of girls in the country were missing out on their education and staying home from school because they couldn't afford menstrual products. It's wonderful to see a country investing in its girls and their education.
Currently, there is a shortage of menstrual products worldwide due to pandemic and with schools closed, girls are going without and/or using dangerous methods to make up for the products they don't have. There is so much work to do on this issue but it's great to know that New Zealand is responding to this crisis. I think people assume a country like new Zealand wouldn't have an issue like this because they are pretty well off as a country. But even in rich countries, there is period poverty, food insecurity, and basic needs unmet.
The country is addressing the period poverty keeping girls out of school