Inclusive education recognises the right of every child and young person – without exception – to be included in general education settings.
This must then incorporate the ability to attend school while menstruating.
The silence around menstruation cut across socio-cultural and geographical borders and impacts school attendance and learning. We need to do more surrounding this.
This recent study identifies what we can do:
The Australian Educational Researcher. Published 27 February 2023*
What can Australian schools do better? Supporting students during menstruation.
The survey of 5007 young women aged 13-25, where asked
“What do you think schools could do to better support girls during their period?”
The answers these young women gave related to sanitation, pain management, removing stigma, adequate breaks, and being considerate.
Recent initiative by selected schools to provide some disposable menstrual products is a significant step forward. While providing reusable period products together with a wet bag, would further help the menstruater for several reasons.
- Teaching students to wash blood away, instead of throwing it away, is an instant change in attitude which reduces stigma.
- It improves convenience and hygiene by not having to access an overflowing sanitary bin.
- Learning to have a safe, economical, and environmentally friendly period.
- Some students can’t access/afford disposables every month. High quality reusables last years and carry a 10-year warranty. Allowing the student to complete their education without constantly buying disposable replacements.
In a separate Australian survey among 125,000 respondents*, it was found:
- Close to 50% of respondents admitted to missing at least 1 day of school because of their period.
- 74% of respondents found it hard to pay attention in class because of lack of proper sanitary care.
- More than 1 in 5 Australians use toilet paper, socks or other unsuitable alternatives to manage their periods simply because they can’t afford pads or tampons.
- Around 50% of respondents admitted to wearing a pad or tampon for more than 4 hours because they didn’t have enough products to get by.
The solution to majority of the voiced concerns is reusables. Pads, tampons, cups, and wet bags.