A new survey has found that one-third of Kiwi girls are forced to skip school or work when they have their periods because they can’t afford sanitary products.

The KidsCan survey is the first to quantify exactly how many young girls and women are struggling with period poverty.

CEO Julie Chapman told Kate Hawkesby that period poverty is another hardship creating barriers to education for girls.

She said this is just one of the issues facing women in poverty.

“We know that poverty is a huge issue and, I guess, this is just one of the things when we talk about material hardship and poverty which we are seeing that is creating another barrier to getting to school and having an education.”

Sanitary products are currently taxed as a luxury item in New Zealand.

However, the first step to helping girls and women is providing free sanitary products in schools, Chapman said.

“I think the key issue right now is making sure those girls who are in need have access to free products and can get to school.

“We have been running a programme for four years that provides free products into schools.

“We would like to expand that on the back of this survey, because we know that perhaps we aren’t getting to everyone, so I think that’s the first step before we look at what else we can do.”

KidsCan currently provides close to 20,000 packets of sanitary items a year but is calling on the Government to help them increase that number.

LISTEN HERE AS JULIE CHAPMAN SPEAKS WITH KATE HAWKESBY

Source: Newstalk ZB

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