Recently, in Scotland, they are attempting to pass a bill which makes period products free at various community places- much like we often see condoms. Obviously, period products are not free and this comes at a cost to the public. But what does that look like to society and would that ever be possible here in Australia?
Share the Dignity have been attempting to make this a reality since its inception in 2015 but have been doing so without any government support. Without government support, it means Share the Dignity have been donating period products across the country solely from the generosity of the public and corporate partners.
In Australia, our taxes are high so we can have the privilege of good roads, public schools, health care and safety, but why don’t period products come into this? Obviously, governments have strict budgets to adhere to, but there should be room for period products. In Australia, 2.9 million people live under the poverty line, we can assume that almost 50% of them menstruate or they eventually will or they once did.
Would we be pondering these questions if more women were in parliament? Or would we be asking this if it were men that menstruated instead of women? The truth is, it shouldn’t take it turning to 2020 to still be fighting for period poverty to end. We shouldn’t have girls skipping school because they have their period and don’t have anything to stop the leakage, we shouldn’t have single mothers choosing between a packet of tampons or feeding their child. Period poverty is an issue of equality and until we, like Scotland, have a government willing to make an active change in the lives of those struggling with these choices, we cannot move forward.
If you believe the right to period products are a right and not a privilege, Share the Dignity recommends writing to your local MP and letting them know your thoughts, being active on social media and spreading the often ignored reality of period poverty and breaking down the stigma of menstruation in your day to day conversations with friends and family.