Dignity celebrates the successful start of the Ministry of Education's access to period products initiative in state and state-integrated schools and kura across Aotearoa, New Zealand.

Dignity celebrates the successful start of the Ministry of Education's access to period products initiative in state and state-integrated schools and kura across Aotearoa, New Zealand.

It is wonderful to see the uptake of nearly 1,600 schools and Kuru opting into the provision of free pads and tampons to schools. Dignity acknowledges the vision and ambition of associate Education Minister Jan Tinetti, her Ministry of Education colleagues and everyone who has advocated for equitable access to period products across Aotearoa.

Dignity's involvement with providing period products in schools 

Dignity’s involvement since 2016 as a leading voice for change, and as an early independent provider of free period products has given us a unique understanding of the needs of young women and people who menstruate in schools and kura and the positive impact that this initiative will have. 

Dignity was the leading organisation for the Positive Periods campaign that successfully lobbied the government for free period products for students. The collaboration campaign included a government petition started by our co-founder Jacinta Gulasekharam and was received by the Minister for Women in November 2019.

It is encouraging to see the environmental outcomes the Ministry of Education is taking into consideration with two of the four brands involved in the first phase of the nationwide roll-out being Organic Initiative (Oi) and Crimson Organic who both provide sustainable period products. 

Dignity is proud of our partnership with Organic Initiative. Since 2016 Dignity has worked with Organic Initiative to provide over 480,00 individual period products including Oi pads, tampons and menstrual cups to schools and community groups across New Zealand. The environmental impact of sustainably focused period products is an important part of the work we do and it is wonderful to see Organic Initiative represented in this rollout. 

Increase in demand for Reusable products:

We know from our Quarter 1, 2020 survey 33% of schools have seen an increased demand for reusable products such as menstrual cups and period proof underwear.

We also know that not all bodies are the same. For the intervention to be best practice, we have found that offering reusables alongside single use products creates further inclusivity and success.

One of the schools we support said “The period underwear has also been a great game-changer for students who worry about their periods leaking or are uncomfortable with pads/tampons. Much less anxiety around periods and what to do if it comes” 

Dignity continues to respond to the need for reusable menstrual products and is proud to be able to supply reusable OI menstrual cups and AWWA period proof underwear to schools that request these products. 

Over the coming years, we expect that demand for environmental products including cups and underwear will only increase further and look forward to working with the Ministry and other stakeholders to support schools to upgrade and reconsider their toilet facilities with this in mind.

Dignity Co- Founder Jacitna Gulasekharam says;

“What's most important with period poverty is to not add to the emotional labour. Providing a wide range of choice is important. Our young people are also the ones leading our climate movement, we need to provide product that is good for the planet and respects the planet they'll be inheriting from us”

Dignity will continue to support the education sector through direct conversation and advocacy work at a ministerial level, nurturing and supporting our existing relationships within schools and providing expertise, encouragement and feedback to the Minister and her colleagues.

You can read more about the rollout via the Ministry Of Educations online space here

Image of Auckland Girls Grammar School students with Oi products via Stuff 15.06.21

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