NSW to Run a Free Period Products Pilot Program in Schools

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In some truly excellent news, New South Wales has become the third state in Australia to trial a pilot program of free period products in schools in an attempt to address period poverty. Victoria has been leading the way in this fight and since July last year, period products have been available in all public schools across the state thanks to a $20.7 million initiative created by the government.

In February, South Australia announced it was rolling out a similar program, with the aim to have every public school across the state equipped with free products this year. This move came after a successful pilot program was carried out in 15 schools in the state. In this program, girls were able to take pads and tampons from a basket in a particular bathroom within the school. Alternatively, the period products could also be handed out by staff in a discreet bag when the student used a specific code word.

Looking at the work undertaken by Victoria and South Australia, the NSW Department of Education is currently working on a similar pilot program, according to the department’s secretary, Mark Scott.

“We are developing work on a pilot program around this and details will be emerging on that shortly,” Scott said. “We are looking to test how we could effectively roll this out.”

Young Australia of the Year, Isobel Marshall, has raised awareness around the issue of period poverty and menstrual stigma both at home and overseas thanks to her brand TABOO, which she co-founded with her friend Eloise Hall. TABOO sells high-quality and ethically sourced pads and tampons, with all of the profits donated to One Girl — a charity that supports girls and young women in Sierra Leone and Uganda.

“The natural biological function experienced by half the world’s population is still a major reason for inequality,” Marshall said during her Young Australian of the Year acceptance speech. “Periods should not be a barrier to education. They should not cause shame, and menstrual products should be accessible and affordable. They are not a luxury or a choice.”

There’s no word when the pilot programmed will be trialled within NSW but here’s hoping it’s soon.

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