Lower prices on sanitary products aim to help reduce period poverty

24 July 2018:  Countdown has dropped the price of its Homebrand and Select sanitary products to make them more affordable for women and girls in New Zealand.

Speaking at a Parliamentary event on the issue today, Countdown’s General Manager Corporate Affairs, Kiri Hannifin, said that while all women will benefit from lower prices on these essential items, one of the drivers for the business in making sanitary products more affordable was to help address a real need for many women and girls in New Zealand.

“Period poverty is a worldwide phenomenon and a reality here in New Zealand.  Too many women go without sanitary products themselves so they can provide essentials like food and rent for their family, or for some families it’s simply something they can’t stretch their budgets to afford for their children.

“Sanitary products are a necessity for all women, no matter who you are or where you come from.  The fact that not all women and girls can access them is something Countdown felt we wanted to help address by making good quality products more affordable for all women,” says Kiri Hannifin.

MP for Manurewa, Louisa Wall, says girls and young women have resorted to makeshift measures such as wearing socks in their underwear, or using types of paper or torn sheets and cloth as sanitary protection when families can’t afford sanitary items. This leads to increased risk of infection, or because of stigma and embarrassment, it has also led to young people not attending school at all.

“Period poverty limits opportunities for current and future generations of Kiwi women, and the impact is much greater than missing a few days of school or not participating in sport or other social activities every month,” says Louisa Wall.

"Female sanitary products aren't a luxury but for Kiwi girls, women and families on tight budgets or low incomes, they're an expense that is simply out of reach.  We’ve all got to work together to address this issue and make it easier to ask for help.”

The Salvation Army’s National Secretary for Social Services, Major Pamela Waugh says we need to start talking about how we can better address this issue here in New Zealand.

“We know that poverty of all kinds can follow people throughout their lifetime. It’s essential women who are making every effort to support themselves and their families are not held back because they can’t fit sanitary products in their budget.  Sanitary products are essential items for women, not a luxury item for the privileged,” says Major Waugh.

In July 2016, Countdown, The Salvation Army and MP for Manurewa Louisa Wall, launched an initiative via The Foodbank Project to help stock the charity’s foodbanks with sanitary products. Since then, more than $190,000 of tampons and sanitary pads have been donated.

Countdown’s move to lower the price of Homebrand and Select tampons and pads is expected to save customers $750,000 a year.

In addition to the changes to its own brand range, Countdown is now retailing menstrual cups at 80% of stores nationwide.

 

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