MPs demand free sanitary wear for every woman

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By Audience Mutema

WOMEN MPs in the National Assembly have come out urging government to roll out a programme to provide free sanitary wear to every woman especially those in the country’s remote areas.

MDC vice president Lynette Karenyi, with support from other lawmakers, in contributions towards debate on the Education Bill said most young women especially from the rural areas are deprived their right to education because they cannot attend school without sanitary wear particularly during their period.

“The amendment speaks on the issue of sanitary wear. I must say that in conversations with the Minister (of Primary and Secondary Education Paul Mavima), he did concede to that such issues are pertinent and should be included.

“On that particular issue, we will be so happy Minister if you formally concede to this because we already have issues where children are not going to school because they do not have sanitary wear,” said Karenyi.

“I think it is something that has become really urgent, for you to buy a packet of cotton wool now you have to pay between $10 and $12 and it is one packet that you only use probably for a day or two. If you are going to have your period for a week, it means you literally need a packet for every other day which is $70. It has become really impossible for our children in school.”

Karenyi added that a programme funded by government to avail sanitary wear to girls across the country could help prevent diseases such as cancer.

“I just want to say the amendment will help young girls in school. I am aware that some of our female MP’s in this House have received a letter from a young lady urging us to try and lobby for such a programme. This clearly shows that women are suffering out there.

“Some girls even sit in the river during their menstruation because they do not have sanitary wear. As women, we should move some motion for a programme that make it government policy to provide sanitary wear to all women,” Karenyi added.

Another lawmaker Sphiwe Muchenje weighed in: “Recently, I was at one of the community schools in my rural area. Most girls raised concern over the same issue.”

The debate was supported by male lawmakers, among them Mutare Central MP, Innocent Gonese.