Sustainable Menstrual Education in QLD
Sustainable Menstrual Education in QLD
Why this petition matters
We get it – it’s a hard topic to talk about. It’s complex. People tend to feel embarrassed when it comes up in conversation.
But the fact of the matter is, periods are inevitable. On average, a woman will menstruate for 7 years of her life.(1) Would you want your daughters, sisters, cousins, and friends to be unprepared for when it arrives? Would you want them to think that their first period means they are dying? Would you want them to feel doubtful, disempowered, and ashamed about the natural workings of their body?
Of course, you don’t! To prevent this from happening, we need to start having incredibly important conversations about periods.
Period education comes primarily from mothers, sisters, friends, and school. Yet, evidence has shown gaps and inconsistencies in what is taught because there is no formal or standardised teaching for our girls in Australia. It has been found that girls do not know how to distinguish between a normal and an abnormal period, many of whom turn to the internet for more information that may just be misleading.(2) If we properly educate our girls to identify an abnormal period, we can give them greater autonomy over their health and wellbeing.
The Queensland Government has announced the instalment of single-use menstrual product dispensers in all public schools through the Share The Dignity charity. Whilst this is a fantastic step towards closing the period poverty gap, we say this is not enough!
These dispensers will greatly impact our environment, considering they only distribute single-use menstrual products.
Did you know that a woman will use 5,000 to 15,000 single-use pads or tampons in her lifetime? This contributes 200,000 tonnes to our landfills, marine pollution, and carbon emissions.(3)
If our current education system is failing our girls through lack of menstrual education, do you really think they’ll be shining light on the environmental impacts of single-use period products?
Just think, if we can improve period education across all state schools in Queensland, especially regarding sustainable menstrual care, we would tackle two major issues at the same time; menstrual education and climate change!
Consequently, we implore the Queensland Minister for Education, the Honourable Grace Grace (MP), to consider the toll single-use menstrual products have on our world. Specifically, we ask her to standardise a menstrual education program to be included in all Queensland state schools between Grade 4 to 6. We request that it have more information about the sustainable period product options, as well as the maintenance and care involved.
The Sustainable Period Project and Bright Girl Health are two leading examples of Australian-owned businesses experienced in providing educational and collaborative programs.(4,5) The Government could harness these pre-existing endeavours to efficiently and effectively integrate proper period education in schools. It’s that easy!
Sustainable Period Project distributes menstrual demonstration resource kits to primary and high schools across Australia and New Zealand. They aim to encourage schools to include more on menstruation, with an emphasis on sustainability, in their health education.(4) Their kits include a biodegradable cotton disposable pad, reusable cloth pads, period pants, menstrual cups, resource files, and a menstruation booklet.(6)
Bright Girl Health is a company that visits schools and gives interactive educational talks to school girls of all ages. At the end of their sessions, they also provide a free menstrual product to each girl in attendance. Their goal is to empower and encourage girls to create positive menstrual experiences.(5)
Our education system needs to be changed, and our single-use plastic consumption must decrease. Help us fight both these challenges by signing our petition today!
For more information about our initiative, the challenges facing period education and sustainable period products, head over to our YouTube channel.
1. FAST FACTS: Nine things you didn’t know about menstruation. unicef. May 25, 2018. Accessed June 22, 2022. https://www.unicef.org/press-releases/fast-facts-nine-things-you-didnt-know-about-menstruation
2. Armour M, Hyman MS, Al-Dabbas M, et al. Menstrual Health Literacy and Management Strategies in Young Women in Australia: A National Online Survey of Young Women Aged 13-25 Years. J Pediatr Adolesc Gynecol. 2021;34(2):135-143. doi:10.1016/j.jpag.2020.11.007
3. Borunda A. How tampons and pads became so unsustainable. National Geographic. September 6, 2019. Accessed June 22, 2022. https://www.nationalgeographic.com/environment/article/how-tampons-pads-became-unsustainable-story-of-plastic
4. About. Sustainable Period Project. Accessed June 22, 2022. https://sustainableperiodproject.org/about/
5. Bright Girl Health. Accessed June 22, 2022. https://brightgirlhealth.com/about/
6. Resources. Sustainable Period Project. Accessed June 22, 2022. https://sustainableperiodproject.org/resources/