Free tampons and pads in CBD bathrooms in proposed trial18th April 2021
Free tampons and pads could soon be available in some Melbourne public bathrooms to provide better access to the sanitary products for women, including teens and the homeless.
Melbourne City Council will on Tuesday consider funding a year-long pilot program to alleviate “period poverty” in the municipality by making sanitary products available in public change rooms, recreation centres, swimming pools, community centres and libraries.
Councillor Jamal Hakim said period poverty, or being unable to afford sanitary products, was a complex problem.
“Therefore multiple strategies are needed to ensure women have relevant and effective menstrual health education, access to period products and amenities such as toilets, soap and bins to manage menstruation without embarrassment or stigma,” Cr Hakim’s motion says.
The motion cites an Australian Centre for Philanthropy and Non-profit Studies report, Reducing Period Poverty in Australia 2020, that found period poverty was a significant obstacle to health, comfort and engagement with school and community activities.
“Research about period poverty is limited, however some evidence shows that poor menstrual management can affect the emotional and physical health of young women and influence their behaviour, such as school attendance,” it said.
City of Melbourne’s $10,000 program would begin in at least six sites, but the council would also partner with other organisations for a wider rollout, Cr Hakim’s motion states. It is hoped a permanent scheme will follow.
The motion notes a number of Melbourne homelessness support agencies already provide free sanitary products, while other greater Melbourne councils, including Cardinia, Casey and Wyndham, offer rebates to residents who purchase menstrual cups and reusable pads.