Education Minister Grace Grace announced a milestone achievement for the Palaszczuk Government’s partnership with Queensland based charity Share the Dignity to address period poverty in schools.
Over 100,000 free period product packs have been distributed to schools across the state since the program’s first Dignity Vending Machines were installed in schools in 2022. Each pack contains six tampons and two pads.
Originally promised for 120 schools, the expanded initiative to install, maintain, and stock Dignity Vending Machines in all Queensland state schools that want one takes the total investment over six years to more than $35 million.
Free period products provide cost of living relief and can particularly benefit students facing challenging circumstances, unstable accommodation, or those escaping domestic and family violence.
The partnership with Share the Dignity also provides access to the educational program Period Talk which helps removed any misplaced stigma around menstruation.
“Access to period products should never be a barrier to learning, and I am thrilled we have hit this milestone: 100,000 period product packs have been given to thousands of students right across our state,” said Minister for Education Grace Grace.
“That’s 100,000 times students didn’t have to worry about sorting out tampons and pads and could concentrate on being at school instead.
“With the price of period products running into hundreds of dollars a year per person, this is important cost of living relief too.”
Many Logan schools have taken on the Dignity Vending Machines giving thousands of young women access packs.
Beenleigh State High School, Kingston State College, Logan City Special School, Loganlea State High School, Mabel Park State High School, Marsden State High School, Marsden State School, Park Ridge State High School, and Yarrabilba State Secondary College are all involved.
“I am thrilled to see the Queensland Government committed to ensuring students don’t have to miss out on a day of education due to being unable to afford period products,” said Rochelle Courtenay, Founder and Managing Director, Share the Dignity.
“I am also elated that our Dignity Vending Machines are being rolled out into primary schools as well as secondary schools, a first in Australia.
“Our Bloody Big Survey in 2021 found over 30,000 kids had their first period at the age of 11 or younger so it is incredibly important primary school students also have free and dignified access to period products in school.”