04 June 2020

Girls in New Zealand schools to receive free sanitary products in bid to combat period poverty

Schoolgirls in New Zealand will receive free sanitary products as the government bids to bring an end to period poverty.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced the news at a press conference, saying: “By making them freely available, we support these young people to continue learning at school.”

She revealed that the government will invest NZ$2.6 million into the initiative, which will be introduced during term three at 15 schools in the region of Waikato on the North Island.

It will then be expanded across the country in the hope that it reaches all state schools by 2021.

Ms Ardern is hopeful this will be expanded to all state schools by next year (Xinhua News Agency/PA Images)

New Zealand’s Minister for Women, Julie Anne Genter, added: “Menstruation is a fact of life for half the population and access to these products is a necessity, not a luxury.”

Prime Minister Ardern regarded that almost 95,000 girls aged between nine and 18 are thought to miss school while on their period because they can’t afford sanitary products.

She vowed to try and change this with the new initiative and also hopes it can help bring an end to child poverty across New Zealand.

“Our plan to halve child poverty in 10 years is making a difference but there is more to do and with families hit hard by the Covid-19 global pandemic,” she said.

"It's important to increase that support in the areas it can make an immediate difference," she finished.

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