Citing research that shows one in 12 young people skipped school because of the lack of period products, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said that her government will provide access to free sanitary products for female students. This path-breaking step again New Zealand’s fight against period poverty will kick-start in June. It is one of the various steps the country is taking to stem out period poverty.
The initiative was announced on Thursday. This announcement comes after a pilot project in 15 schools in the northern Waikato area of New Zealand. As a part of the pilot, about 3,200 young people were provided with free period products.
NZ Fighting Period Poverty
While speaking at Fairfield College in Hamilton, Jacinda Ardern said that young people should not fall out on their education because of something like periods which is a normal problem to handle for half the global population.
Ardern while taking up this issue also mentioned that the programme will roughly cost 25 million New Zealand dollars i.e. $18m over the period of three years.
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Just by a small step as of making sanitary products free, the government can travel afar in its fight against period poverty. The initiative will assist the government to increase school attendance. Moreover, it will give a pump up to the government to directly address poverty and make an optimistic impact on children’s well-being. She also added that the participants in the pilot showed keen engagement at school and improved educational products.
Furthermore, according to the Ministry of Education, students in the pilot responded in a positive direction during the test phase. Also, schools reported a descend in the stigma around period for their students. A big thanks to the provision of sanitary products for the same. Now the government is chalking out a plan for a phased roll-out of the initiative.
Period poverty is a scenario that occurs when women and girls lack the money for sanitary products like pads, tampons, or menstrual cups, or medication for cramps. The first country to take a tough stand against it was Scotland as it became the first in the world to make sanitary products free.