Coalition calls on gov't to complement free education with sanitary towels

A child right organisation, Child Online Africa is spearheading a campaign asking government to make provisions for the distribution of free sanitary towels to girls at the basic and secondary school levels. According to the Happy School Girl Project coalition, a major factor which has become a drawback to government’s flagship Free SHS drive over the years is the inability of many school girls to stay in school due to their inability to afford sanitary towels during their menstrual periods. In a press release ahead of World Menstrual Hygiene Day which is marked on May 28, the coalition noted that the incorporation of either a free sanitary towel supply or support system as part of the Free SHS policy will ensure that girls are not left behind in the attainment of equal access to free and quality education. According to UNICEF, 1 out of 10 girls in Sub-Saharan African miss school during menstruation, thus missing a fifth of the academic year. A study conducted by WaterAid for example shows that as a result of menstruation, 95% of girls failed to attend school during their periods. It is on the back of these findings that the coalition is calling for the provision of free sanitary towels as well as the reduction and scrapping of the 20% tax regime on sanitary towels as well as the classification of such a basic need as luxury product. The coalition also urged the Women’s Caucus in Parliament to facilitate legislation that will seek to check gender inequalities which exist in such unnoticeable forms. Ghana will on Tuesday May 28, join the rest of the world in celebrating World Menstrual Hygiene Day. Menstrual Hygiene Day since its inception in 2014 has become an annual awareness day aimed at highlighting the importance of good menstrual hygiene management. The theme for this year’s celebration “It’s Time for Action” does not only emphasize the urgency of this public health issue, but also highlights the transformative power of improved menstrual hygiene to empower the world’s women and girls and unlock their economic and educational opportunities. Under the ’Happy School Girl Project’, the coalition will facilitate menstrual hygiene management sessions and distribute some 1000 packs of ‘Be Girl Period Panties’ to school girls in the Manhyia South constituency with the help of MP for the area, Dr. Matthew Opoku Prempeh who is also the Minister of Education.

READ ALSO:  Akufo-Addo calls on Muslim leaders to pay attention to girls’ education