Wednesday 16 October 2019

Bridin's campaign secures free sanitary products for schools across the region

Labour candidate Bridín Moloney.
Labour candidate Bridín Moloney.

David Looby

A candidate in the local elections has successfully lobbied for free sanitary products to be installed in schools across the region.

Labour candidate, Bridín Moloney said: 'I'm delighted that my employers Wexford Waterford Education and Training Board have accepted a proposal to install vending machines to supply our female learners and staff with free sanitary products.'

The initiative is part of a campaign to end period poverty which refers to a situation that a woman finds herself in when she is so financially strained that she cannot afford basic sanitary products during her menstruation.

Bridín said: 'It's demeaning, dehumanising and a completely unacceptable reality, and yet it's one that someone around us in our centres/schools is likely to experience on a monthly basis. We are supplied with toilet roll and soap for free and I believe that we should also be supplied with sanitary products, free of charge, no shame, no embarrassment, no questions asked.'

A recent survey of 1,100 young Irish women (between the ages of 12-19 years) carried by Plan International revealed that nearly 50 per cent of teenage girls across Ireland continuously struggle to afford sanitary products month-on-month. The survey also spoke of the lengths girls have to go to improvise with their sanitary products, as the cost of towels and tampons was beyond their financial means. Some 109 of the young women who participated in the survey said they were forced to use a 'less suitable sanitary product' because of the high monthly cost involved. 61 per cent of Irish girls have missed school because of their period.

'Women do not deserve, irrespective of background, income or socio-economic grouping to face monthly stress simply because of biology. No woman should be left unable to access basic sanitary products in a dignified way, whether that be in a school, college, adult education/training centre or workplace.'

Wexford County Council passed a motion to provide free sanitary products in public libraries. Bridín said: 'I'm delighted that WWETB can lead the way in educational centres in Ireland by supporting gender equality and helping to eliminate discrimination for 50 per cent of its staff/learners. The company I found that installs and supplies the products is Initial Hygenie, they have been great to work with and have specially designed vending machines, products, and most importantly, more affordable costs for this initiative.'

New Ross Standard