Helsinki will work on the issue of menstrual poverty in schools, Source: Helsinki Municipality

Helsinki tackles menstrual poverty with free pads in schools

Helsinki tackles menstrual poverty with free pads in schools

This is a pilot project for the time being, and it represents a growing range of concerns around the idea of “poverty” in society

The Education Board of Helsinki has decided to run an experimental measure to fight the so-called ‘menstrual poverty’ by distributing free menstrual products in four of the city’s schools. The pilot project will go on for three months during the autumn in order to study whether it accrues any benefits.

During the trial period, it will be assessed whether the cost of menstrual products can affect participation in education, or even prevent it completely. The amount spent on menstrual equipment can make up a significant part of a student's monthly or weekly budget.

For instance, sanitary napkins and tampons cost the user from a couple of euros to up to ten euros per month.

Being a woman shouldn’t be a barrier to education access

As a concept, menstrual poverty goes beyond the affordability of menstrual products. The idea is that the inability to have access to such products can even prevent female students from attending class and thus position them at a disadvantage.

Pupils and students from schools and educational institutions participating in the experiment can join the pilot project via a registration link. However, the experiment has tried to take into account the sensitivity of the matter, and is carried out in close cooperation with educational institutions, taking into account the needs and wishes of the students. 

The participant's package includes menstrual equipment for one month's use at a time. The participant can choose either a tampon, bandage, tampon and bandage package or a menstrual cup for the entire duration of the experiment. At the end of the experiment, the participants will be given an electronic final survey to complete.



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