Female students using 'newspaper, rags' during period due to tampon costs video

RADIO NEW ZEALAND

Children's charity KidsCan is now providing hygiene packs for students in schools in poorer areas to ensure they have deodorant, soap and toothbrushes.

Some young Kiwi women are skipping classes when they have their period because they can't afford to buy sanitary products, a Labour MP says. 

Louisa Wall has helped launch a programme, supported by Countdown and the Salvation Army, to help supply women with the products they need.

"Female sanitary products aren't a luxury, but for young Kiwi women on tight budgets they're an expense that's hard to afford," the Manurewa MP says.

Some women are too embarrassed to go to school when they have their period.
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Some women are too embarrassed to go to school when they have their period.

Ms Wall says some women stay home from university or school because they can't afford to buy tampons or pads, which can cost a woman between $5 and $15 a week. 

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RADIO NEW ZEALAND

A growing number of Kiwi women, particularly students are not able to afford these essential items and are missing school, some are recycling tampons and pads others have been known to use rags and newspaper. www.rnz.co.nz

"Others resort to makeshift or unhygienic measures such as recycling used pads or improvising pads from old clothes, rags newspaper and other materials - putting them at risk of infection and illness."

The 'Women's Hygiene Bundle' is part of the Salvation Army's Foodbank project, and a donation - encouraged monthly - of $15 dollars can give women the products they need.

Countdown supplier Kimberley Clark kickstarted the campaign with $2,500 worth of sanitary products as a donation.

Major Pam Waugh, head of Salvation Army Community Ministries, said it's particularly concerning women might be missing out on their education because they have their period. 

 "We know that poverty can follow people throughout their lifetime, so it's essential students who are making every effort to improve their future prospects are not held back because it's 'that time of the month'."

Manurewa MP Louisa Wall has got behind the 'Woman's Health Bundle'.
JAMES IRELAND/FAIRFAX

Manurewa MP Louisa Wall has got behind the 'Woman's Health Bundle'.

Salvation Army territorial public relations director Shane Chisholm said the charity gets good support from the community with donations of food, but not many people think about the health of their clients and the need for sanitary products.

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"It's not just a women's issue, it's a community issue."

And it's not just a community issue in New Zealand.

New York state was last week forced to repeal a tax on tampons and pads after a backlash that the tax was sexist.

Female legislators had complained other personal products, including condoms and bandages, are tax-free.

The new law exempts tampons, sanitary napkins and panty liners from the 4 per cent state sales tax and from local taxes that generally are about 5 per cent. 

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 - Stuff

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