Suzanne Orr MLA to introduce Bill to help address period poverty and the stigma associated with periods in the ACT.
The Period Products (Access) Bill 2022 will set in place requirements for the ACT Government to provide period products free of charge at designated and accessible places across the ACT. The Bill also requires that information on menstrual hygiene is made available to anyone.
An exposure draft bill has officially been released for public comment, to allow stakeholders and Canberrans to provide feedback with the aim to make help ensure this bill will reduce period poverty and stigma within the ACT.
Period poverty is the lack of access to sanitary products, menstrual hygiene education, toilets, hand washing facilities, and, or waste management.
Inability to access sanitary products and hygiene has a negative impact one people’s wellbeing, and can lead to their withdrawal from regular activities, such as school, work, or social activities, until their period is over. Social stigma can also have a similar impact.
According to the Period Pride’s Report on their ‘Bloody Big Survey’, 15% of respondents in the ACT have been unable to afford period products at some point in their life.
A survey will launch alongside the exposure draft of the Bill, asking respondents of their experiences associated with stigma around periods, and what they think will help reduce the stigma. This survey was developed with Pradeep Sornaraj, a member of ACT Labor, to complement his successful resolution from the July ACT Labor conference to have the Party adopt universal period product access as ACT Labor policy.
“Pradeep and other ACT Labor members have been passionate about this topic and have been doing excellent work in the area during 2021 and earlier. As their local member, I’m really pleased to take this forward”, Suzanne Orr MLA noted.
“Not feeling like you can talk about periods freely and openly creates that stigma and the only way we change that is to bring the conversation wide out into the public”, says Ms Orr.
“Periods are a normal bodily function, yet they are still heavily stigmatised in society, resulting in people being uncomfortable to talk about periods. Asking friends when in need of a tampon or asking a boss for time off because of period pain, are common actions often associated with shame.”
“It shouldn’t be this way, no one should be ostracised because they do not have access to the products, facilities and understanding they need to respond to a normal bodily function.”
In 2020, Scotland become the first country in the world to make period products free for all people who need them, if enacted by the Assembly, the ACT would be the first jurisdiction in Australia to pass a similar law.
Jayden Seddon – E: [email protected] P: 02 6205 1686 | M: 0438 100 104
Jason Clarke - E: [email protected] P: 02 6205 3018 | M: 0450 849 613