Helping to shine a light on women’s health

Published on 16 February 2024

Women at a doctor's consultation

For far too long women’s health has been a secondary consideration in the health system, often with significant stigma and a lack of understanding of women’s experiences, particularly of pain.

Kingston is working with the State Government to tackle period poverty, something that affects many women and girls.

Following the success of a program in schools, the Free Pads and Tampons in Public Places program will fund the installation of 1,500 free pads and tampon machines at up to 700 sites across Victoria, including at many of our local libraries. The rollout of the machines is expected to commence soon.

For the last 10 years we have provided free sanitary products at Kingston Youth Services - Platform 81 and will continue to do so for young women attending the service.

Mayor Jenna Davey-Burns said pads and tampons are a necessity, not a luxury and people should be able to access them whenever and wherever they need them.

“We know period poverty disproportionately affects women who are unemployed, university and TAFE students, women who are experiencing homelessness, those women displaced due to family violence, migrant women and the LGBTQIA+ community,” Cr Davey-Burns said.

“Through the installation of the vending machines in libraries across Kingston, all women will have access to free sanitary products, menstrual education, hand washing and waste disposal in public spaces that are clean and easy to access.

“This is a problem I am particularly proud to be working with the State Government to solve in our city. At its core this is about dignity.”

Cr Davey-Burns also welcomed the State Government announcing an inquiry into women’s pain and hopes there will be opportunity for Kingston residents to share their lived experience with the inquiry.

“Importantly, the inquiry will provide an opportunity for girls and women from across our community to share their experiences of pain and pain management in their own words and for these experiences to be heard and acknowledged,” Cr Davey-Burns said.

Deputy Mayor Tracey Davies said the new sanitary product machines will be installed this year and will complement the various council programs, services and initiatives focused on the health and wellbeing of women and girls already taking place in Kingston.

“These include things like our maternal and child health centres, family immunisation service, breastfeeding support service, healthy eating program at our Outside School Hours Care services, our Home Care and social connection programs through AccessCare, the support offered through Youth Services and much more,” Cr Davies said.

“Organisations such as Women’s Health in the South East (WHISE), which Council sits on regional partnership groups with, do some great work across the south-east in primary prevention and gender equity through training and programs like Mastering Menopause, Sexual Health and Respectful Relationships and many others.

“Supporting the health and wellbeing of our community is always our number one priority and we will continue to do that moving forward.”


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