It was an honour to be invited to Parliament to formally present the Positive periods petition calling on the government to provide period products to all students in New Zealand and provide better menstrual education. Firstly, we would like to thank Louisa Wall for organizing this important conversation and to acknowledge the official guests and members of parliament, including minister for women the honourable Julie Anne Genter. So how did we get to the point in 2019 where we are still talking about period poverty and not acting to eradicate period poverty?
At Dignity we have donated over 22,000 boxes of organic tampons, pads, menstrual cups and now 100 pairs of Awwa period underwear to ove 100 schools across New Zealand in hopes to improve our nations period poverty. We have been at this for 3 years, but our efforts alone are not enough to eradicate this issue. The conclusion we’ve come to over three years of constantly hearing about period poverty is that at the end of day, menstruation is not a choice and Period should never be a barrier to education.
From the impact reporting Dignity does each term we know that 72% of schools reported having free period products meant their students were able to stay in school during their period and that 81% felt this provision reduced feelings of shame for students. We are a country of 4.8 million people and we can get this right. Scotland, UK and Wales have enacted policies to provide period products to students and we believe New Zealand should do the same.
This is what Positive Periods is about. Reframing the conversation to what we want the world of periods to look like. A positive experience for young people. What does a positive experience look like? It means access to products when you need them. It's having an informed choice about products. And it's about having a range of products that suit your body and beliefs with the planet in mind.
We are extremely proud of our Co-Founder Jacinta for leading this campaign for Positive Periods with the campaign team including Nest Consulting, The Period Place and Wa Collective. This campaign started with NZUSA and now has 21 supporting organisations believing in our mission to exist in a country where every young person has a positive experience with their periods.
What we want is for the government to acknowledge the prevalence of period poverty, commit to comprehensive menstrual health education, mandate in the Education Act to provide period products including reusable items for all students.
This petition of 3105 signatures within 90 days is a public ask for you all as politicians, representatives of New Zealand and people of power to finally act on this issue of period poverty. We are advocating on behalf of the 500,000 menstruating students in which periods should never be a barrier to their education.
We are so grateful for this opportunity and hopeful this call to action will be heard. Let's make periods a positive experience for our young people.