Free period products in schools to combat poverty
Young people in Waikato will be the first to have free access to period products in schools in another step to support children and young people in poverty, says Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.
During term 3, the Ministry of Education will begin providing free period products to schools following the Government’s $2.6 million investment.
The roll-out will begin at 15 Waikato schools and be expanded to all state and state-integrated schools on an opt-in basis in 2021.
“We know that nearly 95,000 9-to-18 year olds may stay at home during their periods due to not being able to afford period products. By making them freely available, we support these young people to continue learning at school,” says Ardern.
“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, it’s important to increase that support in the areas it can make an immediate difference.
“This is another important initiative that sits alongside our work to reduce child poverty and hardship including the $5.5bn Families Package, free lunches in schools, cheaper visits to the doctors, stopping schools asking for donations, and lifting benefits."
Minister for Women Julie Anne Genter thanked the researchers and campaigners who have helped to raise the issue of the prohibitive cost of period products for some families and the subsequent absence from school for some children and young people.
“Menstruation is a fact of life for half the population and access to these products is a necessity, not a luxury,” says Julie Anne Genter.
“We want an Aotearoa New Zealand where all people have access to education and the things they need to live a good life – I am so pleased this Government is finding ways of helping children and young people, at a time when every extra bit of assistance is important.”