Tauranga ex-lawyer strikes blow to period poverty

Vicki Scott. Supplied photo.

A Tauranga businesswoman has landed a major role in a nationwide initiative to tackle period poverty in schools.

When former youth lawyer Vicki Scott launched Crimson Organic tampon company from her home in Mount Maunganui in 2018, donating menstrual products was a key part of her business.

An announcement today confirms her products are being utilised by a Government initiative that places period products in every state and state integrated New Zealand school and kura that opts in.

“I am absolutely ecstatic to be part of this history-making initiative,” Vicki says, following today’s announcement by Associate Minister for Education, Minister for Women and fellow Tauranga resident Jan Tinetti.

“This is a very exciting and momentous occasion for human rights and therefore women’s rights in New Zealand.  It’s a giant step towards gender equity in schools, and life.”

From next week, Crimson Organic tampons will be handed out free of charge in schools as part of the government’s Access To Period Products initiative. Her company is one of four preferred suppliers to the government project.

As a lawyer, Vicki regularly saw women who could not afford pads or tampons passing through the district court system.

“When I visited these young clients, the boys would ask me to bring them chips and Coke.  The girls would ask me for toilet paper, soap, pads and tampons. These girls had no access to period products at home so they frequently stayed away from school, which of course affected their education and job prospects.

“Aside from breaking my heart, it was hugely troubling because I’ve seen the international research that links school absenteeism with young people entering the justice system.”

She say a 2019 survey found as many as 100,000 Kiwi schoolgirls missed up to a week of school every month because they had no access to menstrual products.

Vicki’s online tampon donations programme has been helping women in need since the inception of Crimson Organic, with the company’s website inviting women who can afford tampons to buy some for those who can’t.

Consequently, Vicki has delivered thousands of sustainable, organic, environmentally-friendly period products to organisations that work alongside impoverished and vulnerable women, including Auckland City Mission, women’s shelters and church organisations.  

“And now, thanks to this new school initiative, we’re going to be able to help thousands and thousands more,” she says.

“That’s a dream come true for me.”

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