Government initiative aims to end period poverty, promote gender equality, and erase stigma.
In a significant stride toward tackling period poverty and fostering gender equality, Taiwan has embarked on a groundbreaking endeavor. Effective August 1st, the country is set to provide period products to all schools and universities. The move is not only poised to alleviate the financial burden on students but also aims to destigmatize menstruation, following in the footsteps of other countries championing similar initiatives.
RELEVANT SUSTAINABLE GOALS
The Ministry of Education (MOE) unveiled a comprehensive plan, committing over NT$100 million (approximately US$3.18 million) to furnish educational institutions and ten other select venues across Taiwan with menstrual care products. Premier Chen Chien-jen underscored that eradicating period poverty is an integral part of advancing gender equality within the nation.
Chen highlighted the dual-pronged approach of enhancing access to period products and implementing menstrual education. This approach, he stated, seeks to alleviate the physical and mental toll that menstruation can impose on women. The MOE estimates that around 95,000 students will directly benefit from the program. Those requiring menstrual products will receive them in the form of physical supplies or redeemable coupons, which can be used at supermarkets or similar outlets. University students in need will also have the option to apply for subsidies to supplement their living expenses.
Furthermore, educational institutions are slated to establish designated pick-up points for individuals in need of sanitary products. This practice will be extended to ten non-school venues, including esteemed institutions like the National Museum of Natural Science in Taichung and the National Taiwan Science Education Center in Taipei.
Beyond enhancing access to menstrual products, the MOE is poised to expand gender equality education. This initiative aims to cultivate a deeper understanding of menstruation among female and male students alike, in turn, reducing societal stigmas attached to this natural phenomenon.
Putting an end to period poverty
Taiwan’s groundbreaking move echoes similar actions taken by Scotland and New Zealand. In 2020, Scotland emerged as the world’s pioneer in supplying tampons and sanitary pads across all schools, followed by New Zealand in 2021. In the Asian landscape, countries like Korea, Japan, and Thailand have also introduced menstrual products in schools, albeit within specific regions.
With its resolute commitment to ending period poverty, promoting gender equality, and dispelling taboos surrounding menstruation, Taiwan has set an inspiring precedent for the global community to follow. As other nations observe the impact of such initiatives, the momentum for change continues to grow on an international scale.