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Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern Announces Free Sanitary Products For All Schools In New Zealand

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Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern Announces Free Sanitary Products For All Schools In New Zealand

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has announced that all schools in New Zealand will offer free period products from June.

In a bid to tackle period poverty, Jacinda said: "Young people should not miss out on their education because of something that is a normal part of life for half the population."

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has announced that all schools in New Zealand will offer free period products (Credit: PA)
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has announced that all schools in New Zealand will offer free period products (Credit: PA)

The PM went on to explain that one in 12 young people were skipping school because they could not afford to access suitable sanitary products.

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Meanwhile, organisation Dignity NZ has said 95,000 9-18-year-olds may stay at home during their period because they cannot afford products to manage menstruation.

School principals and campaign groups have been calling for the move for years, with some reporting pupils had resorted to using newspaper or tissues to manage their period.

"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," the PM added.

The rollout comes after a pilot scheme launched last year, in which 15 schools had access to free sanitary products, such as tampons and pads.

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A pilot scheme launched last year, in which 15 schools had access to free sanitary products (Credit: Unsplash)
A pilot scheme launched last year, in which 15 schools had access to free sanitary products (Credit: Unsplash)

To begin the scheme, the The Ministry of Education will work with suppliers on a rollout that will see products available in June for schools that opt in by March. Those that do not can still opt in later.

In November last year, Scotland became the first country to make period products free for all.

It came as part of the Sanitary Products (Free Provision) (Scotland) Bill, seeing the country put aside £9.7million for free period products.

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The move followed Scotland's decision to give students free access to period products in 2018.

Research has shown that one in 10 girls across the UK have at one point been unable to afford period products. Double this number have used a less suitable product because they can't front the cost.

In November last year, Scotland became the first country to make period products free for all (Credit: Unsplash)
In November last year, Scotland became the first country to make period products free for all (Credit: Unsplash)

This is certainly a step in the right direction. Other countries, take note!

Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock

Topics: News

Lucy Devine
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