Victoria To Provide Free Sanitary Pads And Tampons For Public School Girls
Victoria has become the first territory in Australia to provide free pads and tampons to public school girls.
The state government has committed $20.7 million over the next four years to ensure girls aren't being left without access to necessary sanitary products.
The program will boost inclusivity and minimise the 'discomfort and embarrassment around periods for girls' at school. It was first proposed by the Andrews government ahead of the state election in 2018 and now it's been made a reality.
A press release from the Labor government states: "Pads and tampons are available free of charge in school bathrooms, relieving anxiety and embarrassment for girls, and ensuring they can get the most from their education.
"Schools will play an important role in promoting a positive culture around menstrual health and build a supportive environment among the school community.
"Lack of easy access to pads and tampons can negatively impact on students' participation in sport and everyday school activities. Students may not be able to concentrate in class, feel comfortable or feel confident doing physical activity, or they may miss school altogether."
The sanitary products will be rolled out across the state's 1,500 public schools and will deliver 27 million pads and tampons every year (which is based on the calculation that 95 percent of female students will use the products).
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While there are social distancing restrictions on at the moment due to the coronavirus, senior high school students are still attending classes on campus.
Victorian Minister for Women Gabrielle Williams said in a statement: "Getting your period is a normal part of life and sanitary items are a basic necessity. 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."
Victoria now joins the UK and the US states of California, Illinois and New York in providing these products for students at state schools.
New Zealand has also signalled a program to help provide the products for free.
A year eight student said it can be really embarrassing if you don't have a pad or tampon at the ready, so this initiative will be great.
"If, unexpectedly, we do get our period, it's really good to have the resources necessary so we can deal with this and move on our life," the student said.
"We don't want our period to be stopping us from doing the rest of our actives, like sport and school."
Featured Image Credit: PA