Have you heard the good news? New Zealand is setting a new standard by making period products freely available to students beginning in June.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Arden recently announced that providing sanitary items like pads and tampons is one way for the government to help address period poverty, increase school attendance and support students’ well-being.
“Young people should not miss out on their education because of something that is a normal part of life for half the population.” – New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern
There is still a stigma surrounding periods, especially at young ages, that brings on embarrassment and causes girls to miss out on school, especially without the tools to avoid accidents. This is an unfortunate disadvantage to a woman’s education.
It’s wonderful to see the possibility of a future where young girls have what they need to get through the day without bleeding through, and that they won’t need to take on the additional expense themselves.
The announcement follows a successful pilot program that has been running in 15 schools in the Waikato region, and positive feedback from those schools and their students encouraged them to expand the program to all schools in New Zealand.
The feedback from these schools noted that providing a choice between pads and tampons was important, understandably, but not just in terms of products – also in the way they are accessed.
Students want and need more information about periods, how to use the sanitary items they’re provided, and other practical elements of managing their period, such as tracking it and knowing when and who to reach out to for assistance.
Period poverty is an issue that spreads beyond New Zealand, and has been intensified by Covid-19. Nonetheless, the movement holds strong in other countries as well.
“Proud to vote for this groundbreaking legislation, making Scotland the first country in the world to provide free period products for all who need them. An important policy for women and girls.” – Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon
Last year, Scotland became the first country in the world to make period products free for all, kickstarting a movement that inspired women, feminists, and anti-period poverty campaigners everywhere to take up this unique-to-women issue with their government.
Now, England provides sanitary items to all primary and secondary schools, and the tampon tax has been eliminated in the United Kingdom.
Activists helped remove a controversial 12% tax on feminine hygiene products in India.
France is on board, making period products available for free to students in the country.
And some US states are ensuring the same for their schools.
The fight for fairness is non-stop, but let’s take a moment to celebrate these amazing steps of progress for women, something that we at Violet can stand behind and continue to support.