Schools In New Zealand Will Now Provide Free Period Products To Students

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Schools In New Zealand Will Now Provide Free Period Products To Students

The New Zealand Labour government has announced that from June of this year all schools will provide free period products to students. The move comes on the back of a trial last year and makes New Zealand one of the first countries in the world to put such a policy into place. Scotland became one of the first nations to implement such a policy last year. This move aims to end 'period poverty' whereby some students from lower income families are unable to purchase period products or are forced into further financial difficulty by buying them. Campaign groups have praised the move saying it marks real progress for all female students in New Zealand.

It had been reported that in New Zealand, some girls were forced to use toilet paper and other materials because they were unable to buy the products. This is not only unsanitary but can also be unsafe. School principals also reported that some girls were skipping school in order to manage their periods.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said in a statement alongside Associate Education Minister Jan Tinetti:

"Young people should not miss out on their education because of something that is a normal part of life for half the population. Removing barriers to healthy, active, educational outcomes for children and young people is an important part of the Government's Youth and Wellbeing Strategy. Last year, the Access to Period Products pilot program was running since Term 3 in 15 schools and Kura in the Waikato region. This pilot project gave free period products to about 3,200 young people. The positive response from schools and students to the pilot has encouraged us to expand the initiative to all New Zealand schools and Kura."

She continued:

"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 wellbeing. We want to see improved engagement, learning and behaviour, fewer young people missing school because of their period, and reduced financial hardship amongst families of participating students."

Associate Education Minister Jan Tinetti added:

"Feedback from the pilot noted that providing choice was important, both in types of products and the way they are accessed. Students also said they wanted information about periods, period products, and other practical elements of managing their period such as tracking and knowing when and who to reach out to for assistance. The free period products in schools' initiative is the latest in a series of Government programs to reduce barriers to education for all students and their whānau (extended family in Māori). Others in the series include healthy free school lunches, the abolition of exam fees, and the replacement of school donations."

[h/t: Thinking Minds]

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Thinking Humanity: Schools In New Zealand Will Now Provide Free Period Products To Students
Schools In New Zealand Will Now Provide Free Period Products To Students
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