Labor and SA-Best join to roll out legislation to provide sanitary dispensers in public secondary schools

Periods are a fact of life and sanitary products are a necessity says SA-Best MLC and health spokesperson Connie Bonaros, who fights to see new legislation introduced. Photo: Supplied
Periods are a fact of life and sanitary products are a necessity says SA-Best MLC and health spokesperson Connie Bonaros, who fights to see new legislation introduced. Photo: Supplied

A piece of legislation to introduce a 'pilot program' to supply free sanitary items in public schools to support girls and young women is being praised in its infant stage.

The proposed Bill, announced this week by Labor and SA-Best, seeks to provide dispensing machines, containing sanitary pads and tampons, to be installed within SA's public secondary schools.

The bold move responds to a new report released by the Commissioner for Children and Young People which endeavours to seek ways to 'Leave No One Behind'.

It highlights the challenges young women face regarding the affordability of sanitary products and the anxiety associated with menstrual hygiene management at school.

Supportive of the program is Nuriootpa High School.

The Barossa school's Wellbeing Leader Janelle Draper believes the dispenser(s) would be a welcomed addition on site.

The long-time school counsellor shared how the pilot program would help reduce the "awkwardness" associated with something which is a normal occurrence.

"From our perspective we do have children of low income families attend the school who would benefit from this move," Ms Draper said.

"We have also had young girls with only a father figure and felt quite awkward either asking for the products or the money to buy them."

Ms Draper shared how the school keeps a supply of sanitary products on site for their students.

"We issue these packs to the students about once a fortnight on average."

"It would be fantastic for females to have full access to make their life easier.

"Let's be honest, not everyone is prepared either."

From our perspective we do have children of low income families attend the school who would benefit from this move.

Nuriootpa High School Wellbeing Leader Janelle Draper

The proposed measure further comes about after the Victorian Labor Government recently announced a world-first program to provide students in every government school access to sanitary products.

Pushing the legislation is Shadow Minister for Status of Women Katrine Hildyard who says girls and young women should always be able to access, with dignity, the sanitary products they need.

"Periods are a fact of life and sanitary products are a necessity," Ms Hildyard said.

"Stigma surrounding menstruation is still quite common and this is exacerbated when girls and young women don't have proper access to sanitary products."

SA-Best MLC and health spokesperson Connie Bonaros also fights to see the Bill introduced.

"The consequences of a young impressionable woman's inability to access everyday menstrual hygiene products that most women take for granted can have a significant and life-changing impact on her life.

"It can adversely impact their participation in a range of school activities - or they may miss school altogether," she said.

Specifics of the 'pilot program' are yet to be detailed.

This story first appeared on the Barossa Herald website.

This story Bill seeks to provide free feminine hygiene products in schools first appeared on Barossa & Light Herald.