TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The Hualien County Government now offers free sanitary pads to those in need at seven social welfare sites as well as menstruation care packages that can last for up to two months, CNA reported on Tuesday (Aug. 31).
Hualien County Magistrate Hsu Chen-wei (徐榛蔚) said the policy highlights gender equality and women’s rights and is aimed to combat period poverty and stigmatization.
The boxes containing the free sanitary pads, which are accessible to anyone, have been set outside restrooms and on desks at the public welfare centers.
(Hualien Social Affairs Department photo)
For the underprivileged, the Hualien Social Affairs Department is also providing menstruation care packages to those whose applications are approved. The packages include two months’ worth of sanitary pads of various sizes as well as wet wipes.
Period poverty is defined by Global Citizen as “the lack of access to sanitary products, menstrual hygiene education, toilets, handwashing facilities, and, or, waste management.” The phenomenon is not only a result of economic hardship but also menstruation stigmatization in many parts of the world, where menstruating women may be perceived as “impure.”
According to UDN, Hualien is not the first part of Taiwan to offer free sanitary products; as gender equality and women’s rights awareness have grown in the country over the years, other cities and counties have taken action as well. However, Hualien is the first to provide boxes of sanitary pads for easy public access.