Carinity and Share the Dignity reducing barriers to education
Being a woman should not be a barrier to education. Now, Carinity Education Southside is one step closer to removing this barrier for vulnerable girls facing disadvantage.
The alternative education all-girls’ school at Sunnybank is the first school in Brisbane to have a Share the Dignity PinkBox vending machine installed on campus.
Share the Dignity is a charity dedicated to restoring dignity to women through the provision of free sanitary items. Its PinkBox vending machines enable women and girls to access Period Packs, containing pads and tampons, for free.
Carinity Education Southside Deputy Principal Christine Harman says having a PinkBox at the school “will mean the world to our girls”.
“Many of our students stay home from school when they have their period, as managing it is simply too difficult when you don’t have ready access to feminine hygiene products,” Christine says.
“Even when we buy them for the girls, they often are too embarrassed to ask. Being able to access these products, discretely and for free, means they can attend school without fear and stress.
“Providing free feminine hygiene products is just another way we are partnering to remove the barriers so many girls have in accessing education.”
Chris says having the PinkBox vending machine at the school will save students, many of whom live “at or below the poverty line”, between $8 and $20 per month.
“It may not sound like a lot but for our girls that can be the choice between eating well or not at all, being able to afford a train ticket to come to school or having to stay home,” Chris says.
Share the Dignity’s Julie Condely says Carinity Education Southside is just the second school in Queensland to have a PinkBox vending machine.
“Across Australia, girls are still missing school because they don’t have access to sanitary items – this is not okay. Women and girls can access these in a discreet and private way when they need them, as research shows 60% of women will not ask for help,” Julie says.
“The PinkBox dignity vending machines give girls the opportunity to ‘take what they need’ without having to ask or being embarrassed or ashamed.”
Across Australia, Share the Dignity has installed 60 of the machines, which feature in-built technology that safeguards against misuse or wastage and identifies when a machine needs a refill, including 16 in Queensland.
“These have gone into schools in low socio-economic areas, homeless hubs, medical centres, domestic violence refuges and a variety of service providers across the country. Our aim is to install 150 machines by the end of next year,” Julie says.