Reports earlier this week that Aboriginal girls from remote communities had been missing school during their periods came as little surprise to me.
On reading these reports, I saw a number of charitable organisations devoted to the provision of menstrual products to those in need step up and encourage people to donate so these girls had supplies available for them to access. The work such organisations do with homeless women, low socioeconomic status women and Indigenous communities in need is to be commended. Yet in my opinion, the very fact that we have to rely on the work of charities to provide pads and tampons in the first place is incredibly troubling.
Around half the population will undergo the normal, natural process of menstruation throughout the course of their lives. It’s bad enough that there are corporations getting rich off that fact while producing ads about blue liquid. It’s even worse that the government sees fit to continue having a tax on these items, treating them as luxuries rather than necessities and effectively financially penalising those who dare to bleed. Yet combine capitalist gain and government greed with service provision in remote areas: suddenly women and girls are expected to pay $10 per packet for the privilege of menstruating.