SDLP Lagan Valley MLA Pat Catney has urged parties to back his bill aiming to provide free period products in schools, colleges and public buildings.
The bill, brought forward by Mr Catney in response to the shocking levels of period poverty in Northern Ireland, will have its consideration stage in the Assembly on Tuesday.
Lagan Valley MLA Mr Catney said:
“As we get closer and closer to getting this bill over the line I would urge MLAs from all parties to support my efforts to tackle period poverty in Northern Ireland. We have an opportunity here to change people’s lives for the better, to end the stigma around period poverty and to provide access to vital products for those who need them.
“While preparing this legislation I met with numerous groups and heard directly from women and girls about their experiences. They told me how they had been forced to take time off work and missed school or social events as a result of period poverty. It’s heartbreaking to think that people were forced to use dangerous alternatives because they simply could not afford these products. Not having access to period products can have a significant impact on someone’s physical and mental health.
“These products are not optional, they are needed and it’s unfair to expect people to shell out large sums for them. Families across the North are struggling with rises in the cost of food, heating, fuel and everything else. This bill will ensure that while people are plunged into crisis, they will always have access to free period products.
“By working together on this we can put people first and deliver for our local communities. I hope MLAs will speak with one voice and do the right thing in ensuring period products are available for everyone who needs them.”