Taipei, Tainan help women address period poverty

09/15/2021 07:45 PM
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CNA file photo
CNA file photo

Taipei, Sept. 15 (CNA) The cities of Taipei and Tainan have launched trial programs recently to help women tackle period poverty, which is a lack of access to menstrual supplies.

In Taipei, sanitary products will be available for free in five junior high schools during the semester from September to January, according to the city's Office for Gender Equality.

The initiative is expected to benefit more than 1,500 female staff and students, according to Cheng Wei-chun (鄭維鈞) from the office.

"Period poverty does not exist only in poor countries, and it can be a state of mind that brings on an invisible burden for women," Cheng told CNA on Tuesday.

For instance, a woman might decide to reduce the number of times she changes sanitary napkins during her period to save money, which constitutes a form of period poverty, he said.

It is why the city wants to make such products as accessible as possible to people who need them, particularly after seeing other rich countries such as New Zealand allocate a budget to make period products free in schools, Cheng said.

Partnering with the city was feminine hygiene brand Kotex, which said it will also help expand the program this year by providing continuous resources to teachers and promote awareness on campuses.

Previously, the brand has worked with teachers to create interactive period teaching materials such as videos, board games, and a local menstruation-themed website, reaching approximately 36,000 girls and boys, said Kelly Yang (楊永玲), corporate communications and CSR manager at Kimberly-Clark Taiwan & Hong Kong.

Photo courtesy of Tainan City government
Photo courtesy of Tainan City government

The southern city of Tainan chose to target disadvantaged women first to increase menstrual equality, including those who are homeless, abused, or from remote townships.

Between September and November, the city will distribute sanitary products to around 2,000 women who have difficulty accessing them, officials said.

According to Tainan Mayor Huang Wei-che (黃偉哲), the city government will also place sanitary napkins in women's restrooms in two civic centers and 37 district offices across Tainan to help break the stigma with periods.

(By Lee Hsin-Yin)


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