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All schools in New Zealand will offer free sanitation to students starting in June, officials said on Thursday. Initiative, which aims to fight period poverty, expands into a pilot program that began last year.
In them notification, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Associate Minister of Education Jan Tinetti said the program is open to all primary, secondary, high school and in which, or diving schools in the Maori language. Arden said providing free period products to schools is a way for the government to help address poverty, increase school attendance and support student well-being.
“Young people should not lose their education because of something that is a normal part of life for half the population,” she said. “Removing barriers to healthy, active, educational outcomes for children and young people is an important part of the Government’s Youth and Welfare Strategy.”
The Ministry of Education will work with suppliers to start a step-by-step program, with period products to be made available starting in June for schools choosing through March. Those who will not be able to vote at a later date, officials said. The company will it is said that cost the New Zealand government about $ 18 million by 2024.
Free period products have been available to about 3,200 students since the middle of last year as part of a pilot program involving 15 schools in the Waikato region. Officials said positive feedback from participating schools and students encouraged them to expand the program.
“Responses from the pilot noted that providing choice was important, both in the types of products and in the way they are achieved,” Tinetti said. “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 to whom to turn for help.”
She added that issues with school periods include embarrassment, stigma, lack of lessons, cost, anxiety and lack of knowledge.
Poverty of the period is an issue prevalent in and beyond New Zealand, and has been worse from the coronavirus pandemic.
A 2020 report by charity KidsCan said up to 20,000 elementary, middle and high school students in New Zealand faced inadequate access to period products due to financial and social constraints. And, citing research, Tha Arderni on Thursday that one in 12 young people lost school as a result.
Several other countries have taken steps to address this need. Scotland made history in November 2020 when it became the first country to make free period products, a move that came two years after it first started offering products to schools and higher education institutions.
Britain launched a program last January to provide free-period products to all state schools and colleges, which officials said was extended “to 2021.” And last month, the country eliminated the so-called “buffer tax” on sanitary products, which were previously classified as non-essential.
Most US states do not currently exempt menstrual products from the sales tax, although some have moved to change it in recent years.
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