New Zealand has become the latest country to stamp down on period poverty by giving out free sanitary products to all of their school girls.
Keep scrolling to read more about the country's remarkable decision, and to hear the change it will make to the lives of millions...
Let's talk about periods.
via: Getty ImagesThis may repulse some people who can't handle reading anything about the inner workings of a female, but please do me a favor and grow up.
Periods are completely natural.
via: Getty ImagesSome people seem to think that the menstrual cycle is some sort of taboo subject that needs to be avoided at all costs, but I'm here to remind you that it's not. It's a natural part of the female routine.
So what actually happens?
via: GettyIn a simple explanation, the cycle involves the removal of an unfertilized egg with the lining of the womb. That's literally it. There's nothing repulsive about it.
So why is it considered such a taboo subject?
via: GettyFor centuries now, the topic of women's periods have been kept on the hush-hush, and it's all because society has stigmatized it.
And, even though the times are slowly changing, some cultures aren't...
via: Getty ImagesIn India and other parts of Asia, the idea that a woman can be on her period seems to be too hard to accept. Girls as young as eleven have been shunned while on their period in a "cleansing custom."
What is the "cleansing custom"?
via: Getty ImagesThis is when a woman is typically removed from her household and placed into a hut, or a shack, where she will reside while she is menstruating. That's right. She is physically removed from society and put into isolation because she is deemed "dirty" if her body is in the natural process of removing an unfertilized egg.
So, this is why we need to be more open about the topic.
via: GettyHowever, rather than talking about how to help normalize the process, there is another issue that needs to be addressed.
Period poverty is real, and it affects the lives of millions of young girls and women all over the world.
via: GettyBut what exactly is period poverty?
For an official definition:
via: GettyAccording to the sanitary manufacturer, BodyForm, period poverty means being unable to access sanitary products and having poor knowledge of menstruation often due to financial constraints.
Sadly, sanitary products are classified as "luxury items"...
via: GettyAnd, therefore, can be incredibly expensive, especially for those from lower-income households.
For years now, women all over the world have called for an end of this "period tax"...
via: GettyAnd they have been urging governments to provide schools and workplaces with free sanitary products.
However, these calls have mostly fallen upon deaf ears.
via: GettySo far, Scotland has been the only country to take action, with their parliament approving plans this year to make sanitary products freely available to women in public spaces such as public restrooms, community centers, and youth clubs.
But now, one more country has joined the fight against period poverty...
via: GettyAnd they have promised to provide all school girls with free sanitary products.
New Zealand has taken a huge step forward for all their young girls and women.
via: GettyPrime minister Jacinda Ardern said that sanitary supplies for a monthly period were not a luxury, but a necessity, and that too many girls were skipping school because they weren’t able to afford pads and tampons.
The statistics from schools across the country were shocking...
via: GettyIt was found that the schools in deprived areas had reported girls being forced to use toilet paper, newspaper, and rags in an attempt to manage their period.
Ardern wants to put an end to this poverty once and for all.
via: GettyThe prime minister revealed this week that 15 Waikato based schools – which were identified as those most in need – will have access to free products starting this year. The programme is set to go nationwide for all schools on an opt-in basis by 2021.
On her decision, she explained:
via: Getty“We know that nearly 95,000 9-to-eighteen-year-olds may stay at home during their periods due to not being able to afford period products. By making them freely available, we support these young people to continue learning at school."
And this is only the beginning.
via: GettyMiranda Hitchings, the co-founder of New Zealand based sanitary product charity, Dignity, said: “It’s a fantastic investment from our government. However, this is just the beginning. Period poverty doesn’t just affect students. It’s a subset of poverty, and many other groups, like those experiencing homelessness and income loss, deeply feel the implications from a lack of access to products."
Ardern's move has sparked praise from people all over the world...
Sanitary products should be made FREE all over the world. School age girls often miss school during their period du… https://t.co/DnA4Aus7KY— Kenny Adazie, SPMIIM. (@Kenny Adazie, SPMIIM.)1591262041.0
Jacinda Ardern is a truly admirable leader...
This woman, Jacinda Ardern is a LEADER. https://t.co/7od8JbCqb9— Rated 'R' Predator. (@Rated 'R' Predator.)1591277225.0