Prime Minister of New Zealand Jessica Ardern announced recently that all schools in New Zealand will offer free menstrual hygiene products to all its students from June this year.
This fantastic move to reduce period poverty, which is the lack of access to sanitary products, comes after a pilot program was run in 15 schools last year, which provided free sanitary products to over 3,200 students.
Ardern said that one in every 12 young people in New Zealand skip school because of period poverty and such a move will have a “positive impact on children’s wellbeing.”
“Young people should not miss out on their education because of something that is a normal part of life for half the population,” Ardern said in a statement Thursday. “Removing barriers to healthy, active, educational outcomes for children and young people is an important part of the Government’s Youth and Wellbeing Strategy.”
“We want to see improved engagement, learning and behavior, fewer young people missing school because of their period, and reduced financial hardship amongst families of participating students,” she said.
This initiative is estimated to cost the New Zealand government about NZ$25 million ($18 million) from now to 2024. The authorities will work with suppliers to ensure a phased rollout of this initiative.
“Feedback from the pilot noted that providing choice was important, both in types of products and the way they are accessed,” said Jan Tinetti, who serves as the Minister for Women and the Associate Education Minister. “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.”
Last November, Scotland became the first country in the world to offer period products free for anyone who would need them, including at public facilities across the nation.
Isn’t this a commendable move by the government of New Zealand? What do you think about it? Let us know your views in the comments section below.