Fri. Jun 14th, 2024

Free pads and tampons are now available in every public school in New South Wales with thanks in part to the advocacy of Glen Innes student Phoebe Vimpamy.

More than 4600 dispensers have been installed in public schools across the state to support young women overcome barriers in accessing menstrual hygiene products. All states in Australia now offer this service, with Victoria the first state to introduce the measure in 2020.

Minister for Education and Early Learning Sarah Mitchell celebrated the completion of this program rollout in time for the start of the 2023 school year.

“Getting your period should not be a barrier to education. We have installed 4600 sanitary product dispensers in NSW schools to ensure students can participate in all aspects of school life,” Ms Mitchell said. 

“I want our young women to feel comfortable in knowing they have access to free sanitary products when they need, in their school.

“Evidence shows that providing sanitary items has a very positive impact on educational engagement and attainment, so we know this program is going to make a huge difference for our students’ education.”

Member for Northern Tablelands Marshall acknowledged and praised Year 10 Glen Innes High School student Phoebe Vimpany – a current member of the Education Minister’s Student Council – for lobbying to have sanitary products made available in all NSW public schools.

“When Phoebe was appointed to the council last year, she told me this was one of her goals,” Mr Marshall said.

“Since then Phoebe has been a strong voice for rolling out free hygiene products at every school to support young women.

“I commend Phoebe for her advocacy and helping bring about this incredibly positive initiative – it just goes to show how big change can be made, no matter who you are and where you live.

“This statewide rollout of period products will ensure our young women have the support they need, with dignity and without barriers, as they continue their education journey.

“That is something Phoebe can be rightly proud of helping bring about.”

There are a number of community organisations who have also been advocating for this change for a long time. One of the better known charities, Share the Dignity, have now moved on to a campaign targeted at normalising having conversations about periods in schools. Their new campaign ‘Period Pride‘ is offering a major prize of $5000 to young people for the best though-provoking content that helps reduce the shame and stigma associated with periods.

Top image: Glen Innes High School Principal Adam Forrester, left, with Education Minister’s Student Council member Phoebe Vimpany and Northern Tablelands MP Adam Marshall pictured last year when Phoebe was appointed and set about having free period products made available in every NSW public school.

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