Free pads and tampons to be supplied in schools
FREE pads and tampons will be handed out to Victorian students in the bid to reduce stigma around periods in the schoolyard.
The state government is rolling out the sanitary product program to also help families save money.
Premier Daniel Andrews today joined Minister for Education James Merlino to announce the start of the $20.7 million program this week.
Mr Andrews said the move would help struggling families.
"This will help reduce stigma and embarrassment for girls, as well as saving families hundreds of dollars," he said.
"Victorian schools will be the first in Australia to give students free pads and tampons - because getting your period shouldn't be a barrier to getting a great education."
The University High School in Parkville is among the first schools to have the products on offer for students fulfilling a 2018 election commitment.
Sanitary items will be available free of charge in school toilets.
The program will be rolled out at University High, Mt Alexander College and Footscray City over the next week.
A further 230 campuses will be targeted next term, while free sanitary products will be made available to all schools by term two next year.
About 131,000 school girls will have access to the free products, which Premier Daniel Andrews said was "a very practical investment".
"This is a really important investment to making sure that every girl, every young woman can participate fully in their education, in sport and in the life of their school," he said.
Women and Youth Minister Gabrielle Williams hoped the Federal Government would follow suit.
The $20.7 million package announced today includes products, dispensers and support for schools over four years.
Experts have previously flagged lack of easy access to sanitary items can negatively impact on students' participation in sport and everyday school activities.
Springvale-based Asaleo Care - which manufacture Libra products - has secured the tender to roll out the initiative.
Education Minister James Merlino said removing stigma was essential to keeping young women involved in activities.
"Having your period shouldn't ever stop a girl from participating in school, whether that's in the classroom, playing sport or socialising with friends."
The issues of cost around tampons and pads has escalated in recent years with many female advocates behind the push to scrap GST on sanitary items.