G’day, WA! In a massive win for menstrual equity, Western Australia will require public schools to provide free period products for students in years 7-12. That’s how they FLOW, down under!
While the state government is still working out the fine details on how students will access products in more than 225 schools, some students hope for a dispensing machine for added discretion and convenience. Member of the Western Australia Legislative Assembly Simone McGurk says she hopes the initiative will help to end the stigma surrounding periods as the government looks at the options currently in place in other Australian states before making a final decision.
Australia’s Commitment to Ending Period Poverty
Western Australia is the last state to implement a free period product program. Victoria became the first state in the country to provide free products in 2020. Following Victoria’s success, South Australia, the Northern Territory, New South Wales, Queensland, and Tasmania implemented public school-focused plans between 2021 and 2022. The Australian Capital Territory already offers free period products in schools and recently introduced a bill to provide free pads and tampons to ANYONE who needs them. This is an incredible effort to alleviate period poverty and make Australia better for people with periods!
Period Poverty in Australia
In a 2021 survey from Share the Dignity, 1 in 5 Australians use toilet paper or other unsuitable alternatives because they cannot afford proper period products such as tampons, pads, or menstrual cups. Additionally, almost half of all 125,000 survey participants said they missed at least one day of class because of their period.
Starting in October, the government and schools will start the process to find a proper provider for the estimated 225 schools that will gain access to products, and the program will go live in the first term of next year, in January 2023.
We want to commend Western Australia and its dedication to doing its part in changing the world, one cycle at a time!
If you’re inspired to get period products of your own, check out Aunt Flow’s complete collection.