By: Zorana Mackovic
Women in crisis are to receive free hygiene products in a WA-first sanitary vending machine roll-out.
Derbarl Yerrigan Health Services, an Aboriginal crisis care unit in East Perth, will be the first location in WA to receive a vending machine that dispenses sanitary products free to homeless and disadvantaged women.
Share the Dignity, a charity that installs vending machines with free tampons and pads operates 18 sanitary vending machines on the east coast and plans to launch more in Perth.
Volunteer Sarah Kennedy said Share the Dignity hopes to install a total of 50 vending machines across Australia.
“Perth will receive another four sanitary vending machines, hopefully by the end of this year,” Ms Kennedy said.
The program comes after the Federal Senate voted down a proposal introduced by The Greens to dispose of the GST tax on tampons and sanitary pads.
Perth homeless woman Caitlyn, 36, told Bounce News the move would eliminate the need to improvise. Each pack contains two pads and six tampons.
“Being homeless you never feel clean, but during my period I feel disgusting,” Caitlyn said.
“I usually use toilet paper, paper towels or a plastic bag. It’s a constant struggle, but you have no choice but to adapt and make it work.”
Ms Kennedy said women’s hygiene products were not luxury items and every woman deserved to have access to them.
“We are delighted to be able to make even the slightest change in these women’s lives,” Ms Kennedy said.
Scotland recently became the first country to offer free sanitary products to women who are on low incomes.