New Zealand To Give Free Sanitary Products To All Schoolgirls
New Zealand wants to ensure that every schoolgirl in the country has access to free sanitary products.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has announced her government will provide the funding under her policy to end period poverty.
She says too many young women are missing days at school because they can't afford sanitary products.
People in low socio-economic areas will get access to the products first before it's rolled out across all state and state-integrated schools on an opt-in basis next year.
"We know that nearly 95,000 nine-to-18-year-olds may stay at home during their periods due to not being able to afford period products," Ms Ardern said. "By making them freely available, we support these young people to continue learning at school."
A survey of 5,000 women in New Zealand found that some have been using toilet paper, newspaper or rags instead of sanitary products because they can't afford them. There are fears that the coronavirus pandemic will make it only more difficult as families struggle financially.
The New Zealand government hopes that this small measure will mean the world of different for those women.
Minister for Women Julie Anne Genter said: "Menstruation is a fact of life for half the population and access to these products is a necessity.
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"We want an Aotearoa New Zealand where all people have access to education and the things they need to live a good life - I am so pleased this Government is finding ways of helping children and young people, at a time when every extra bit of assistance is important."
Earlier this year, Scotland announced plans to become the first country in the world to offer sanitary products to all women in the country for free.
The Period Products (Free Provision) Scotland Bill was put forward by Scottish MP Monica Lennon, who said it's time to change society's attitudes around these products.
Ms Lennon said: "These are not luxury items. They are indeed essential and no one in Scotland should have to go without period products.
"We are changing the culture and it's really exciting that other countries right around the world are watching very closely to see what we do."
According to the ABC, the proposal is expected to cost £24.1 million annually (AUD$47.5 million).
These products are currently taxed at five percent and some women aren't able to afford them because of their high cost.
Featured Image Credit: PA
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