Everyone deserves access to basic sanitation, and that includes the 150,000 students in NSW public schools who menstruate. But right now, many young people in our schools are experiencing period poverty.
Period poverty in Australia is understudied, but countries overseas show us just how dire it is. In the US, nearly one in five girls aged 16-24 have either left school early or missed school entirely because they did not have access to period products. In the UK, 1 in 4 parents are worried about their ongoing ability to afford period products. In Australia, we know that people living in remote communities often have to pay up to $10 for a packet of period products.
Access to hygiene and sanitation is a basic human right. Just like toilet paper, the Education Minister has the power to provide it. Victoria, South Australia, New Zealand and the UK have all introduced free period product programs in their schools. Thanks to pressure from activists, the Minister has announced a two term trial in 30 public schools across the state, but we have to keep the pressure on to ensure that the program is rolled out permanently and across the state.
Email the Minister now.
Always USA, Always Confidence and Puberty Study: Based on females 16-24 years old 2016 U.S. census 2017, via Share the Dignity report 2020
Plan International UK, Menstrual Health & Hygiene “It’s Time to Talk” Report 2021
Hall, N, Indigenous girls missing school during their periods: the state of hygiene in remote Australia, 2017