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Jacinda Ardern Announces Free Sanitary Products For All New Zealand Schools

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Jacinda Ardern Announces Free Sanitary Products For All New Zealand Schools

Jacinda Ardern wants to end period poverty in a new policy that will supply all New Zealand schools with free sanitary products.

The initiative was first launched last year, however it only affected 15 schools across the country. Now it's being rolled out nationwide.

The Labour government wanted to act on this policy after figures showed one in 12 young people were missing school because they didn't have the correct or any form of sanitary product.

Credit: PA
Credit: PA
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These numbers are similar in other Western countries and many women have to create makeshift pads or tampons or simply go without because they can't afford them.

The New Zealand Prime Minister hopes this will soon become a thing of the past.

Ms Ardern said in a statement: "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 well-being.

"We want to see improved engagement, learning and behaviour, fewer young people missing school because of their period, and reduced financial hardship amongst families of participating students."

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The policy will cost the government NZ$25 million for the next four years.

Credit: PA
Credit: PA

New Zealand's Minister of Women, Jan Tinetti hopes young women won't be 'caught out' at school or elsewhere anymore.

"Students wanted information about periods, period products, and other practical elements of managing their period such as tracking and knowing when and who to reach out to for assistance," she said.

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State and national governments around the world have started jumping on initiatives like these in recent years and they admit more needs to be done to ensure women don't have to endure period poverty.

In November last year, Scotland became the first country to give free sanitary products to all women.

The landmark legislation stipulated that women in Scotland had a legal right of free access to period products and the Scottish government estimates it will cost around AUD$43 million to implement.

The mission was spearheaded by Scottish Labour's health spokeswoman, Monica Lennon, who told the Guardian it was 'a proud day for Scotland' when the law was brought in.

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"This will make a massive difference to the lives of women and girls and everyone who menstruates," Lennon said.

"There has already been great progress at a community level and through local authorities in giving everyone the chance of period dignity.

"There has been a massive change in the way that periods are discussed in public life. A few years ago there had never been an open discussion of menstruation in the Holyrood chamber and now it is mainstream."

Featured Image Credit: PA

Topics: New Zealand, News

Stewart Perrie
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