Sydney, Australia, Feb 18 (efe-epa).- New Zealand announced Thursday it would provide free feminine hygiene products in all schools in the country from June with the aim of tackling “menstrual poverty.”
The measure continues and expands on a national scale the successful pilot program implemented last year in 15 schools in the Waikato region, on the North Island, in which some 3,200 female students participated, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said.
“Young women should not lose part of their education for something normal for more than half of the population (…) The positive response from schools and students has encouraged us to expand the initiative to all schools in New Zealand,” said the president at Fairfield College, part of the pilot program.
The Prime Minister stressed that “providing free feminine hygiene products in schools is a way for the government to directly address poverty, help increase school attendance and achieve a positive impact on the well-being of girls.”
The president said one in 12 students does not go to school due to problems related to “menstrual poverty,” as the lack of access to feminine hygiene products is called.
The program will have a fund of NZ $ 25 million ($ 18 million) to run through 2024.
The Minister for Women’s Affairs, Jan Tinetti, said together with Ardern that the problems derived from menstruation include shame, stigma, skipping class or not being able to afford the cost of the products.
In November, Scotland became the first country in the world to offer free feminine hygiene products to anyone in need, including in public places. EFE-EPA