Period poverty gets deputy minister’s attention in Parliament

Deputy Women, Family and Community Development Minister Hannah Yeoh speaks during a news conference at Parliament in Kuala Lumpur November 28, 2019. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa
Deputy Women, Family and Community Development Minister Hannah Yeoh speaks during a news conference at Parliament in Kuala Lumpur November 28, 2019. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 28 — The Women, Family and Community Development Ministry is seeking data on girls forced to skip school because they are too poor to afford sanitary pads or tampons.

Its deputy minister Hannah Yeoh said her ministry is in discussion with the Education Ministry to find out the extent of period poverty in Malaysia after recent media reports.

“We are talking to the Education Ministry on this issue. But on our part, we actually don’t have the official collection of data and statistics.

“I think maybe the ministry and the schools need to start looking to collect this data and provide assistance.

“This kind of thing shouldn’t happen in Malaysia today. No girl should stop school because there’s period poverty,” she told a news conference in Parliament today.

Period poverty is defined as the inability of menstruating women to have access to sanitary products and safe, hygienic places in which to use them.

Yeoh said schools must provide data on girls forced to miss school due to financial constraints when it comes to managing their own menstruation.

She said her ministry will work out ways to provide aid after receiving the information.

Yeoh was responding to recent news reports of school girls in Kelantan from poverty-stricken families skipping classes due to period poverty.

The matter was brought to light by 44-year old Kelantanese businesswoman Zuraidah Daut.

She had set up “Projek Oh Bulan!” earlier this year to help the affected students after learning of their plight.

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