It’s that “time of the month”, you peer into the bathroom cupboard and discover that you’re low on sanitary protection. The first thing that goes through your mind (after, “Wow, these stomach cramps are the worst!”) is that you’re going to have to fork out a small fortune for the resupply of your period products.
Unfortunately, for a lot of girls and women, that cost is just too high. Period poverty is what leads hundreds of girls to miss several days at school every month, because their family just can’t afford to buy sanitary products. Obviously, this can affect their learning and educational opportunities. Many girls and women often resort to using unhygienic or dangerous substitute items such as rags and newspaper.
Making the move to free period products
Recently Scotland became the first country to begin the process of making period products free. If the bill becomes law, period products will be made available to those in need free of charge.
“Menstruation is normal. Free universal access to tampons, pads and reusable options should be normal, too. Period dignity for all is not radical or extreme, but is simply the right thing to do,” said Scottish politician Monica Lennon who is working to get the free provision bill through parliament.
Reducing the cost
While we may not yet have free period products here in New Zealand, there are several organisations that are working towards providing period products for women in need and especially to ensure that girls are able to attend school.
The Warehouse recently released a line of sanitary products that are selling for just $1 each. The products include regular and super pads plus liners and are a step towards helping period poverty in New Zealand. The Warehouse has also announced that, for every 10 packets of the $1 range sold, they will donate a pack to Women’s Refuge.
England has recently made funding available for public schools to provide students with free period products. A poll by the NZ Herald in February 2020 revealed that over 90% of responders agreed that New Zealand should follow suit.
Donating period products
If you are able to, you can donate to any of the following organisations around New Zealand who are working to collect and distribute sanitary supplies to young women in need, either through donation or a ‘buy one, give one’ system:
* The Salvation Army Foodbank Project (Women’s hygiene bundle)
* Go With The Flow (Wellington)
* KidsCan (Health for Kids)
* Shine (Auckland)
* MyCup (Donate a cup)
* Dignity (Buy one give one for businesses)
* United Sustainable Sisters (Auckland)
Written by Julie Scanlon
Julie is Editor for Kidspot NZ and our MVP. Her hobbies include laughing uncontrollably at her own jokes, annoying her family by asking questions about movie plots, and never taking anything too seriously. She speaks a little Spanish and a lot of Yorkshire.
Favourite motto to live by: “It ain’t nothing but a thing”