Helping schools promote positive menstrual health
Free pads and tampons are now available in every government school in Victoria –because being able to access sanitary products shouldn't be a barrier to students getting the most out of their education.
In Victoria periods are no longer a taboo. Victoria is the first state or territory in Australia to ensure every government school student has universal access to free sanitary products.
The $20.7 million initiative commenced in Term 3, 2019 and installed dispensing machines in every school by the end of Term 2, 2020. This initiative will continue to provide pads and tampons to students until June 2023.
The Government's commitment to provide free pads and tampons in government primary, secondary and specialist schools will:
- provide students with the confidence that there will always be sanitary items available at school
- relieve female students of the stigma, anxiety and discomfort associated with menstrual hygiene management so they can focus on their studies
- ease the cost of living for families.
Sanitary items are a necessity, not a luxury, and the free sanitary pads and tampons in public schools initiative will support tens of thousands of students across the state.
Lack of easy access to pads and tampons can negatively impact on students' participation in sport and everyday school activities. Students may not be able to concentrate in class, feel comfortable or feel confident doing physical activity, or they may miss school altogether. By making sanitary pads and tampons freely available at school, we are one step closer to educational equality.
The use of sanitary items provided at school is entirely voluntary. Providing both sanitary pads and tampons allows students to make a choice based on their own needs, cultural beliefs, maturity and preferences.
Schools play an important role in promoting a positive culture around menstrual health and building a supportive environment among the school community. The initiative aims to reduce the stigma of periods, making school a more inclusive place which will help students focus on their studies.
The Department is providing schools with communication materials to increase parental and community understanding of this initiative.