The Victorian Government will offer free pads and tampons to girls in all state primary, secondary and specialist schools as part of a new $20.7 million investment that aims to reduce the stigma and embarrassment that can be associated with periods.
The rollout, due to begin this week, will make sanitary items available free of charge in school toilets, for female students to access whenever required.
The initiative, which is an Australian first, was announced by Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews, Minister for Education James Merlino and Minister for Women and Youth Gabrielle Williams at The University High School in Parkville, which is among the first schools to have pads and tampons on offer.
“Victorian schools will be the first in Australia to give students free pads and tampons – because getting your period shouldn’t be a barrier to getting a great education,” said Premier Andrews. “This will help reduce stigma and embarrassment for girls, as well as saving families hundreds of dollars.”
According to the Victorian Government, this investment will assist girls in managing their periods with less embarrassment, and to normalise periods as a healthy part of growing up.
“While getting your period is a normal part of life, for some young girls it can be a source of anxiety or embarrassment. This will help to reduce the stigma and make it easier for girls at school,” added Minister Williams.
Asaleo Care, which manufactures Libra pads and tampons, has secured the tender to roll out the initiative.
As part of the rollout, students will also receive important health information about how to manage their periods.
“Having your period shouldn’t ever stop a girl from participating in school,” said Minister Merlino, “whether that’s in the classroom, playing sport or socialising with friends.”