Okresowa Koalicja calls for support of its bill

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Okresowa Koalicja - członkinie składają projekt ustawy w sejmie RP.


Two years ago, the Coalition's representatives made it their goal to introduce bills that would improve women’s lives. Two years after presenting the idea of the bill to the parliament, on June 14th, members of the Okresowa Koalicja handed to the deputies a bill to ensure access to menstrual products in all schools and universities and to introduce menstrual health education into the curriculum. ‘We’ve arrived at our destination. We’re handing the bill to the members of parliament. It serves as a proof of our strength and efficiency!’ Dominika Kulczyk, the president of the Kulczyk Foundation, radiated joy at the press conference held in the Polish Sejm in June.

The bill obliges ministers to introduce, in the form of regulations, rules concerning the availability of menstrual products in educational facilities. Guaranteeing this availability, both in the physical sense and monetarily, is, as the bill’s explanatory memorandum suggests, the responsibility of the state, stemming directly from women’s right to healthcare. The bill’s authors note that failure to fulfil this responsibility may lead to the stigmatisation of women and irresponsible handling of menstrual disorders. One example cited is that of endometriosis. For women dealing with this condition, the lack of understanding from the people around them and the stigmatisation of menstrual subjects are additional obstacles to obtaining a diagnosis and receiving treatment. Research commissioned by the Foundation shows that lack of access to menstrual products often leads to women not showing up for work or school. 21% of girls in Poland have had to skip classes because they did not have any menstrual hygiene products with them. 54% have skipped classes due to period-related concerns at least once. Implementing the bill and introducing free pads to every Polish school and providing education on menstrual hygiene, so that no girl has to skip classes because of her period, would not only be a giant leap forward in terms of awareness of such issues, but also an important answer to period poverty and menstrual exclusion problems among Polish students.

The two-year fight for dignity

The bill’s explanatory memorandum provides a broad overview of the period poverty problem and its many aspects. There’s no shortage of references to the need for providing equal opportunities to men and women in the labour market. At the heart of the bill is the directly expressed belief that lack of access to menstrual hygiene products, and, as a consequence, difficulties in accessing education and limited ability to exercise labour rights by women, above all ‘undermine the principle of dignity, which is the basis for the status of an individual in a democratic state’.

Facts speak for themselves

Menstrual exclusion and period poverty are a reality! Research commissioned by the Kulczyk Foundation indicates that two thirds of women in Poland have at some point been in a situation where they didn’t have access to any pads or tampons at school. These sorts of situations lead to a sense of shame, to giving up various activities, and to social withdrawal. ‘We want to follow the example of England, France, Scotland and New Zealand. There, such regulations are already in place’, explained Dominika Kulczyk during the press conference held in the Sejm.

From declarations to action

In line with the promise made two years ago to introduce systemic changes in the form of a bill, now, just before the parliamentary elections, the members of the Okresowa Koalicja are calling on all political factions, regardless of their allegiances, to declare support for the proposed regulations in the upcoming Sejm term. ‘Now is the time to move on from empty campaign slogans to actions and to support introducing lasting changes that will improve the lives of millions of girls and women in Poland’, the members of the Okresowa Koalicja say in agreement.





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