SINT MAARTEN (GREAT BAY) - In a progressive discourse during a Parliament meeting held earlier this year on January 25th, MP Romou placed a strong emphasis on period poverty, asserting the pressing need to promote period equity, especially starting within our schools. Highlighting a proposal received from the Teen Times in September 2021, MP Romou advocated for the necessity of Period Poverty Legislation. The discourse illuminated the gravity of the issue, stressing the importance of understanding that period poverty isn't limited to our borders; it is a global concern.
For those unfamiliar with the term, period poverty refers to the difficult choices women and girls must make when they cannot afford menstrual hygiene products. These choices may include deciding between purchasing food or sanitary napkins, resorting to using rags, toilet paper, or even reusing pads. MP Romou accentuated the urgency of the matter by referencing Scotland's historic move in August 2022, where they became the first country to offer free period products for all through their Period Products Free Provision Bill.
Moreover, the US has enacted sixty state laws and two federal laws related to menstrual hygiene, addressing various facets from tax elimination on menstrual products to ensuring their accessibility and safety.
Both Ministers, Ottley and Samuel, undertook extensive research on the subject, which culminated in the continuation of the period poverty meeting on Thursday, 31st August. Minister Ottley shared invaluable insights during this meeting, showcasing the successful collaboration between the ministries. This joint effort resulted in the allocation of hygiene products to numerous schools.
It's noteworthy to mention that MP Romou's advocacy in this area has been significant. Having had discussions with the minister, she has managed to advocate successfully for an annual budget of approximately 12,000 guilders for ECYS. Minister Samuel has given a nod of agreement post their meeting. This means the financial burden won't fall on schools, but rather, the budget will be provisioned directly, ensuring young girls never have to choose between education and their basic human right to menstrual hygiene.
In conclusion, heartfelt gratitude is extended to both Minister Ottley and Minister Samuel for taking this issue with the seriousness it deserves. Their willingness to engage in constructive dialogues with MP Romou ensures that funds will be allotted in the budget to tackle period poverty. With such dedication from our leaders, it's evident that period poverty will soon be a thing of the past in our nation.