Fighting ‘period poverty’ is the goal for Adelaide student and social entrepreneur Isobel Marshall, who is the Young Australian of the Year for 2021.
The 22-year-old was presented with the award at a ceremony in Canberra on Monday evening.
“Period poverty is real,” Ms Marshall said.
“Periods should not be a barrier to education. They should not cause shame and menstrual products should be accessible and affordable. They are not a luxury or a choice.”
But 30 per cent of girls in the developing world drop out of school once they start puberty, and one in 10 women around the world can’t afford menstrual products.
Ms Marshall co-founded menstrual product company TABOO in high school with friend Eloise Hall, with the goal of reducing stigma around periods and helping women access products.
“We have a responsibility to acknowledge our privilege and use our resources to lift others up,” the new Young Australian of the Year said.
TABOO gives all its profits to a charity helping women in Sierra Leone and Uganda gain education.
It partners with the St Vincent de Paul Society’s women’s crisis centre to provide free pads and tampons to those who need emergency accommodation in South Australia.
The organisation also works with the Ngaanyatjarra Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Women’s Council across SA, Western Australia and the Northern Territory.