Earlier this year, MPs in Scotland backed a bill to make pads and tampons free for women of all ages. While the bill was passed, it still has a few hoops to jump through before it becomes an actual law. But, it’s a start.
Since 2018, Scotland has provided free sanitary products to students at schools and universities — effectively eradicating period poverty for the younger generation.
In Australia, more than half the population requires the use of sanitary items every month but aren’t offered the same service as those in Scotland — except for students in Victoria.
All Victorian public schools now provide free pads and tampons to students in order to help end “the stigma of periods”. The Victorian Government began implementing the program last year and announced yesterday, on July 28, that it was now in more than 1,500 Government schools across the state.
Victoria is the first state or territory in Australia to offer such essential items to school students and it’s a necessary step forward to end period poverty and reduce any embarrassment young people may experience. The $20.7 million initiative will also help families save hundreds of dollars per year.
Pads and tampons will be available free of charge in school bathrooms, making accessing the items both easy and discreet.
“Lack of easy access to pads and tampons can negatively impact on students’ participation in sport and everyday school activities,” a statement from the Government read.
“Students may not be able to concentrate in class, feel comfortable or feel confident doing physical activity, or they may miss school altogether.”
Alongside the free sanitary items initiative, students will also receive important information about their period and how to manage it.
“Getting your period is a normal part of life and sanitary items are a basic necessity,” said Minister for Women, Gabrielle Williams. “We’re ensuring all girls in our public schools have access to pads and tampons when they need them, so they can focus on their studies.”
You can donate sanitary items to those experiencing period poverty via Share the Dignity — an organisation that collects and distributes sanitary products to communities in need, giving them the dignity they deserve.