The free service reducing the stigma of managing periods

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Kaylah Joelle Baker

The City of Melbourne has extended its free period care pilot program until June 30, after it was successfully launched in September 2021.

The program involved the installation of vending machines, filled with free period care products, in six council-owned facilities around the municipality.

Since the trial began, the council has reported much success with the program.

“Over our 12-month pilot program, we provided more than 6700 pads and tampons to Melbournians who needed them,” the council’s Health, Wellbeing and Belonging portfolio lead Cr Dr Olivia Ball said.

“We’re pleased to be extending our Free Period Care Program and look forward to working alongside the Victorian State Government to end period poverty in Victoria.”

 

Currently around 15 per cent of Victorian women and people who menstruate have been unable to, at some point in their lives, afford the expenses that come with period products.

 

As healthcare products that are essential for the everyday lives of those who require them, Lord Mayor Sally Capp said the council was hoping the program would assist with “remov[ing] the stigma and shame that surrounds menstruation”.

In addition to this, the program’s mission is to also help reduce the social, financial and personal impacts of the one in five Australians facing period poverty.

“We’re doing what we can to make managing periods easier and more accessible for all Melburnian girls, women and people who menstruate,” she said.

“We hope to continue to extend and expand the program – to create a greater sense of menstrual equity in Melbourne.”

The free period care items can currently be found at the Library at the Dock, City Library, Carlton Baths, Melbourne Town Hall public toilets on Collins St, North Melbourne Community Centre, and the Kathleen Syme Community Centre in Carlton.

The extension of the program will also see the council working in collaboration with the state government to accelerate the roll out and expand on the number of facilities where products can be found.

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