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Ministry of Education's new idea to combat period poverty

Ministry of Education's new idea to combat period poverty

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Weronika Paliczka,
26.03.2024 15:45

Menstruation and period poverty are still taboo topics in Poland. The Ministry of National Education wants sanitary pads and tampons available in all schools to fight period poverty.

According to data from the Kulczyk Foundation, one out of every six Polish schoolgirls has missed a school day because they lack hygiene products. Period poverty is a serious issue that may appear insignificant at first glance. Despite efforts by NGOs like Pink Box (Polish: Różowa Skrzyneczka) and Action Menstruation (Polish: Akcja Menstruacja), there is still a long way to go. The ongoing need for assistance in this area is vast, and the current efforts only scratch the surface of the problem.

Schools tackling period poverty

An increasing number of schools are taking measures to combat period poverty. Previously only available from hygienists, sanitary pads are now being stocked in toilets or special classroom lockers. The Ministry of Education is committed to ensuring that no menstruating student has to miss classes due to a lack of hygiene products. According to Dziennik Gazeta Prawna, Deputy Minister Paulina Piechna-Więckiewicz is working on introducing free sanitary pads and tampons in all schools.

"In January, with the help of the Educational Information System, the ministry conducted a survey to show how many school establishments provide girls with hygiene products. Of the 12,200 schools that took part, almost half declared they do," DGP reports. Although many schools have implemented measures to support menstruating individuals, some institutions still require them to rely on female colleagues or teachers for assistance.

Currently, the responsibility of supplying school toilets falls on the headteachers, who have raised concerns about the lack of funding from local authorities to provide sanitary pads or tampons. The issue is resolved in certain schools through collections or duty, where different classes replenish a box of hygiene products each month.

Law or regulation on sanitary pads and tampons?

Deputy Minister Paulina Piechna-Więckiewicz strives to regulate access to tampons and sanitary pads legally. Currently, the method to resolve this issue is still under discussion, whether through introducing a new law or a regulation by Minister Barbara Nowacka. What is certain is that if everything goes according to plan, the question "Can I borrow a sanitary pad?" will be a thing of the past, and a sense of security around menstruation will be established.

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