26 September 2023

School program to end hygiene hardship

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The Department of Education is to roll out a new program across NSW schools to ensure young women’s education isn’t impacted by their access to menstrual hygiene products.

Announced by the Minister for Education, Sarah Mitchell, the program follows a successful trial in 31 schools and is to provide access to free pads and tampons for young women students.

“Getting your period should not be a barrier to education,” Ms Mitchell said.

“This program is providing schools with dispensers, tampons and pads for free and is supporting young women’s health, engagement and attendance at school,” she said.

“I want our young women to feel comfortable in knowing they have access to free sanitary products when they need.”

Ms Mitchell said the pilot program, conducted in South Western Sydney and the Dubbo region, showed that providing sanitary items had a positive impact on educational engagement and attainment.

She said the Department would work with each school to discuss options for the location of the dispensers and facilitate installation through external contractors.

Minister for Women, Bronnie Taylor said the statewide rollout was what many young women had been calling for.

“This great initiative is about ensuring our young women have the support they need, with dignity and without barriers, as they continue their education journey,” Mrs Taylor said.

“By openly discussing periods, endometriosis and reproductive health we are removing the taboo around women’s health issues,” she said.

The program is expected to be rolled out to every NSW school by 30 June.

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