In an Australian first, the Andrews Labor Government is rolling out pads and tampons in every state school, free of charge, to reduce the stigma of periods, make school more inclusive for girls and young women and save families money.
Premier Daniel Andrews today joined Minister for Education James Merlino and Minister for Women and Youth Gabrielle Williams at The University High School in Parkville to announce the start of the roll out from this week.
The $20.7 million investment will provide students in every government primary, secondary and specialist school in Victoria access to free pads and tampons, helping to remove barriers to getting a great education.
The University High School is among the first schools to have the products on offer for students, with more schools being rolled out progressively, fulfilling a 2018 election commitment.
Sanitary items will be available free of charge in school toilets, allowing students to access pads and tampons when they need them, relieving anxiety and embarrassment and ensuring they can get the most from their education.
Lack of easy access to sanitary items can negatively impact on students’ participation in sport and everyday school activities. Students may not be able to concentrate in class, feel comfortable or confident doing physical activity, or they may miss school altogether.
The Labor Government’s investment will ensure pads and tampons are at schools to help girls to manage their periods with greater ease and less embarrassment, and to normalise periods as a healthy part of growing up.
Asaleo Care has secured the tender to roll out the initiative. Based in Springvale, the company has been manufacturing Libra pads and tampons for over 40 years.
As part of this initiative, students will also receive important health information about how to manage their periods.
As noted by Premier Daniel Andrews
“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.”
“This will help reduce stigma and embarrassment for girls, as well as saving families hundreds of dollars.”
As stated by Minister for Education James Merlino
“Having your period shouldn’t ever stop a girl from participating in school, whether that’s in the classroom, playing sport or socialising with friends.”
As stated by Minister for Women and Youth Gabrielle Williams
“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.”