The NSW Government has announced that free sanitary products will be accessible across all NSW public schools thanks to a new $30 million state program.
The program will be rolled out at the end of June following a pilot program last year in 31 schools in South Western Sydney and Dubbo.
The news was announced before International Women’s Day and with NSW Education Minister Sarah Mitchell stated the new program will address period poverty in schools.
She told 9 News: “Getting your period should not be a barrier to education.
“This program is providing schools with dispensers, tampons and pads for free and is supporting young women’s health, engagement and attendance at school.”
Minister for Women Bronnie Taylor expressed that a program like this would also be a gateway to discuss other women’s health issues amongst school students.
“This great initiative is about ensuring our young women have the support they need, with dignity and without barriers, as they continue their education journey,” she said.
“By openly discussing periods, endometriosis and reproductive health we are removing the taboo around women’s health issues.
"This announcement could not come at a better time, with the 2022 NSW Women’s Week kicking off today (March 8).
"This year’s celebration of women has a strong focus on providing better health outcomes for women across the State.”
NSW will follow Victoria’s lead, as they became the first state in Australia to provide sanitary products schools after a $20.7 million initiative was rolled out across 1,500 public schools in October 2020.
Victorian Health Minister Jill Hennessy said that sanitary products should be seen as a ‘basic necessity’ instead of a luxury, and enforcing this program would no longer make periods taboo.
She told the ABC back in 2018: “We want to break down the stigma for young women and girls, and make sure it doesn't impact on them feeling comfortable at school and being able to focus on the important things like learning.”
The South Australian Government has also announced a similar initiative, with Education Minister John Gardner expressing the need to address period poverty so students have less to worry about and can ‘focus on their learning’.
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