Share the Dignity is a women’s charity in Australia that works to make a real, on-the-ground difference in the lives of those experiencing homelessness, fleeing domestic violence, or doing it tough. The organisation distributes period products to women and girls who need support.
ACPNS researcher, Dr Ruth Knight has prepared a report about the issue in partnership with Share the Dignity. The research, which included interviews with staff from 12 Queensland schools, identified a lack of awareness among students about menstrual management and hygiene.
Period poverty is a real issue that is under-researched and we have anecdotal evidence of teachers personally donating products but there is a lack of data about the level of need. We’ve been told girls use socks or rolled up toilet paper with underwear left on the floor or in bins while toilets are only accessible at certain times of the day. Unfortunately, what is a basic human right is often seen as a taboo topic.
Dr Ruth Knight
The aim of the research is to learn more about how schools could reduce any stigma and shame, and support students to manage their menstrual health so they did not avoid or stay away from school during their period.
Share the Dignity has provided free sanitary products to thousands of female students with Dignity Vending Machines installed in Australian high schools. The report also looks at the impact these machines are making in the lives of teenage girls in high schools across Australia.