Free sanitary products will be given to thousands of school girls across Wales in a bid to tackle ‘period poverty.’
The Welsh government announced it would fund the £2.3m scheme with immediate effect.
The Period Dignity Grant for Schools will provide over 141,000 girls in Welsh primary and secondary schools with a range of sanitary products.
As well as being free-of-charge, products will be made accessible in the most practical and appropriate way possible.
Schools will also be encouraged to support reusable, environmentally sustainable products to allow maximum choice for learners.
Supplying primary schools is a step further than provisions recently announced in England.
The money will be made available immediately via Local Authorities, who fund schools in Wales.
The First Minister, Mark Drakeford, said:
“We are committed to supporting period dignity and maintaining our investment in schools to help bring period poverty to an end.
In March, we declared free sanitary products would be available to all women in Wales’ hospitals – it is only just that the same happens across our schools.
It is essential ample sanitary products, as well as good facilities, are available to all female learners so they can manage their periods with confidence and remove what is an unnecessary barrier to their education.”
The Minister for Education, Kirsty Williams, said:
“It’s unthinkable that young women could be forced to miss days of their education simply because they can’t access or afford period products.
We’re committed to tackling this inequality in Wales and this funding will help make period products available to learners in all schools, free of charge and in the most dignified way possible.
Research from Plan International shows 15% of girls struggle to afford sanitary products, 14% have had to borrow from their friend and almost 20% have had to use a less suitable product because cost was an issue.
The announcement brings Welsh Government’s funding total for period dignity to £3.4million after it committed £1.1m last year to address period poverty in communities and to improve school facilities.
The previous funding comprises of £440,000 for Local Authorities up until 2020 to provide sanitary products through schools, food banks and shelters to those who may otherwise struggle to afford them and £700,000 to improve school toilet facilities.