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New Zealand schools to offer free period products to all students

Hemani Sheth Mumbai | Updated on February 18, 2021

The scheme to provide free menstrual products for the next three years comes after a six-month pilot program launched last year in 15 schools in the Waikato region where 3,200 young people were provided with period products

Starting this June, all students across schools in New Zealand will have access to free period products, the country’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Associate Education Minister Jan Tinetti announced on Thursday.

The scheme to provide free menstrual products for the next three years comes after a six-month pilot program launched last year in 15 schools in the Waikato region where 3,200 young people were provided with period products.

“Young people should not miss out on their education because of something that is a normal part of life for half the population,” said the New Zealand PM speaking at Fairfield College in Hamilton.

The move is to help address “period poverty,” which means being unable to afford or access period products.

“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,” said Ardern.

Minister Tinetti further said that the issues faced by students at schools with periods included embarrassment, stigma, missing classes, being ‘caught out’ without product, cost, lack of knowledge and discomfort.

The country’s Ministry of Education will work with suppliers to manage a phased rollout of the scheme, as per an official release. Period products will be available for schools that opt-in by March of 2021. The ones that do not initially choose to take up the initiative will continue to be able to opt-in to the initiative at a later date, it said.

It will cost the government NZ$25 ($18 million) from now to 2024, as per a BBC report.

Previously, Scotland, in a first made period products such as tampons and pads free for those who need it.

Members of the Scottish Parliament MSPs unanimously approved the Period Products (Free Provision) (Scotland) Bill in November 2020. As part of the legislation, the Scottish Government will set up a nationwide scheme to allow people who need period products to access them for free.

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Published on February 18, 2021
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