Words: Staff Writer
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has revealed that sanitary products will be distributed for free in schools to combat period poverty.
The programme is set to begin in June this year and will cost around NZ$25 million over three years. It follows a successful pilot scheme and comes off the back of news that one in 12 young people skipped school because they did not have access to period products.
Ms Ardern revealed that the pilot scheme resulted in improved engagement in school and higher grades.
“Young people should not miss out on their education because of something that is a normal part of life for half the population,” Jacinda Ardern asserted.
“Providing free period products at school is one way the government can directly address poverty, help increase school attendance, and make a positive impact on children’s wellbeing.”
The news comes after Scotland became the first country to introduce the legal right to free access to period products at the tail end of last year.
Meanwhile, in Ireland, a period poverty committee was set up by Simon Harris in 2019. According to a 2018 study, half of girls aged between 12 and 19 admitted to struggling to pay for period products in the past.
The problem has been exacerbated during the pandemic and is especially dire for those in Direct Provision.
Although pads and tampons are not subject to VAT in Ireland, products such as menstrual cups still are.
Elsewhere, we spoke to Celeste about the societal expectations of women in relationships and how she accesses honesty no matter how uncomfortable it may be.