Girls who attend state schools in Victoria will get access to free tampons and sanitary pads from this week.
The Daniel Andrews government has invested more than $20 million to ensure women aren’t caught out at school without their feminine hygiene products.
The Premier said on Twitter: “Pads and tampons are just as essential as toilet paper and soap. So from this week, we’ll start supplying them in our public schools – free of charge.
It’s the first state or territory in Australia and one of only a few jurisdictions around the world to implement the measure. Victoria now joins California, Illinois, New York and the UK in providing these products for students at state schools.
A year eight student said it can be really embarrassing if you don’t have a pad or tampon at the ready, so this initiative will be great.
“If, unexpectedly, we do get our period, it’s really good to have the resources necessary so we can deal with this and move on our life,” the student said.
“We don’t want our period to be stopping us from doing the rest of our actives, like sport and school.”
This was a pledge that Mr Andrews took to the state election last year and it seems like he’s delivered. He’s been backed up by the State’s Health Minister, who says this type of thing needs to be introduced across Australia.
Jill Hennessy said: “Young women and girls at school shouldn’t have to worry about having access to a basic necessity like tampons and pads – and Labor will make sure they don’t have to.”
“We want to break down the stigma of menstruation and ensure it does not impact on a student’s ability to be comfortable at school and ready to learn.”
“This is about giving female students the dignity they deserve, and helping families with the cost of living along the way.”
The products will be available in female, unisex and accessible bathrooms across the eligible school campuses. The $20.7 million allocated for the project has been spread out across four years in order for it to have longevity.