K-C's U by Kotex aids government initiative on period poverty in New South Wales, Australia, by providing free dispensers, tampons and pads in state's public schools; K-C study found 42% of menstruating NSW students missed school due to fear about leakage

Sample article from our Government & Public Policy

February 2, 2023 (press release) –

Australia’s largest period care brand, U by Kotex®, is proud to be supporting the government’s initiative in New South Wales (NSW), Australia to address period poverty in our education system, by providing product dispensers and U by Kotex tampons and pads now available for free for all students in public schools across the state.

Belinda Driscoll, Managing Director of Kimberly-Clark, the maker of U by Kotex, said, “Free access to period care products is an essential step to tackling period poverty. While similar programs are now in place across the majority of states and territories, we hope to continue to see growing momentum for such initiatives across Australia. In addition to the availability of product, we’re also pleased that there will be a greater focus on menstrual education, as this is key in reducing misinformation and breaking down enduring stigma associated with menstruation.”

“On average young people experience their first period in primary school. The more we can normalise periods from an early age, we can start to shift the negativity around periods to one of positivity from the start.” added Driscoll.

Kimberly-Clark’s research1 has shown the lack of education and open conversations around menstrual health remains an issue for young people across the state and can impact their confidence, wellbeing and ability to engage in school life, with:

  • 16% of NSW-based menstruating students aged 10-18 years said they feel too embarrassed to go to school when they have their period.
  • One in four (25%) of students in NSW said they are afraid of being teased about their period at school.
  • Almost half of menstruating students in NSW aged 10-18 years (42%) have missed school because they were afraid they would experience leakage.
  • 35% of NSW menstruating students said they do not receive information about menstruation at school.

“We applaud the NSW Government for the action they’ve taken in providing students with easy access to period care products and information as of when they need them, working to normalise menstruation and ensuring nothing gets in the way of their education,” said Driscoll.

For many years U by Kotex has been challenging negative social perceptions or stereotypes that limit people because they experience periods. In 2022, alongside parent company Kimberly-Clark, the brand publicly committed to providing greater access to period products and education for nine million people in Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific by 2030.

U by Kotex has a long history of advocating for menstrual education in schools, after the launch of its popular ‘What’s Happening to You’ program in 2015, which has had more 1.5 million students participate. This interactive resource was created in conjunction with teachers to provide both female and male students with a better understanding of menstrual education and puberty.

Since the launch of their new 2030 Ambitions in 2020, Kimberly-Clark has already positively impacted nearly 5 million people across Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific. As part of this they have donated hundreds of thousands of U by Kotex period products to Australians in need, working with partners all around the country.

The roll out of the period products in NSW schools’ initiative is currently underway, with more than 4600 Kimberly-Clark dispensers installed to date. U by Kotex period products are available for schools to purchase through official Department of Education suppliers COS, WINC and Cultural Choice Supplies. For further information regarding the program, please visit the NSW Government website here.

 


1 Kimberly-Clark commissioned Fifth Dimension Research and Consulting to conduct research on the current attitudes about menstruation in Australia, with 659 menstruating students aged 10-18 years surveyed across Australia in February 2021.

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Dan Rivard
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