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Australians are using toilet paper, socks or other unsuitable alternatives to manage their periods because they can’t afford pads or tampons, a world first survey on period poverty finds. 

Commissioned by Share the Dignity, the survey found that close to half of the 125,000 respondents said they had missed at least one day of school because of their period, and 74 per cent said that when they did attend school during their period, they often found it difficult to pay attention because of lack of proper sanitary care.

Around 50 per cent of respondents also admitted to wearing a pad or tampon for more than four hours because they didn’t have enough products to get by. 

The survey is part of a larger “Period Pride” campaign by Share the Dignity, focusing on mapping missing data on period poverty in Australia to better understand the shame and stigma that still exists around getting a period. 


Period poverty is the term used to describe the inability to purchase menstrual care products, which is considered a significant obstacle to health, comfort, and engagement with school and community activities.

It is experienced people who menstruate all over the world including Australia.  Research about period poverty is limited, however some evidence shows that poor menstrual management can affect people's emotional and physical health and influence their behaviour such as school and work attendance, participation in sports and socialising in public places.

To help address period poverty, the City of Melbourne is piloting a free period care product service in a limited number of public facilities for 12 months beginning 10 September 2021.

FREE period care products are available at the following locations:

Library at the Dock
City Library
Carlton Baths
Melbourne Town Hall 
Collins Street public toilets
North Melbourne Community Centre
Kathleen Syme Community Centre

For further information or to provide feedback on this service call the City of Melbourne on

9658 9658, or visit contact us.