The Department of Women, Youth and People with Disabilities intends to distribute free female hygiene products to women and girls in poor communities. Picture: Pexels
The Department of Women, Youth and People with Disabilities intends to distribute free female hygiene products to women and girls in poor communities. Picture: Pexels

State announces free sanitary products for vulnerable women

By Jehran Naidoo Time of article published Jul 23, 2020

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The Minister for the Department of Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities Maite Nkoana-Mashabane announced on Wednesday that the department is set on providing free sanitary products to vulnerable women and girls in poor communities.

This decision was revealed during a virtual mini-plenary of the National Assembly on Wednesday in which the ministry’s budget had been prioritised.

According to Nkoana-Mashabane, concerns have been raised over the lack of access to menstrual health and hygiene products for indigent women during the coronavirus health crisis.

“On our part, the Department of Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities has contributed to the Covid-19 response plan with a particular focus on mitigating the negative impact of the pandemic on women, youth and persons with disabilities.

“The department has also partnered with the Department of Social Development, United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and WaterAid to ensure menstrual hygiene management is accessible to vulnerable women and girls.”

The UNFPA is an organisation which promotes the rights of women and girls in areas of reproductive health and gender equality.

“Working with development partners, we will ensure that women in poor communities have access to free sanitary dignity products,” added Nkoana-Mashabane.

The minister urged communities to band together against gender-based violence (GBV), saying the fight against femicide is “bigger than the government”.

“We need communities to join and help us eradicate this pandemic. We would like to call upon our communities to come together against this scourge and expose perpetrators and not turn a blind eye,” said Nkoana-Mashabane.

A report by SaferSpaces.org, an online knowledge hub on community safety and violence in South Africa, revealed some of the harrowing statistics on gender-based violence in South Africa.

According to the report, more than half of all the women murdered (56%) in 2009 were killed by an intimate male partner.

Between 25% and 40% of South African women have experienced sexual and/or physical intimate partner violence (IPV) in their lifetime.

It also found that between 28% and 37% of adult men report having raped a woman.

African News Agency (ANA)

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