President Jair Bolsonaro’s decision to block a plan to distribute free sanitary pads and tampons to disadvantaged girls and women has been met with outrage in Brazil, where period poverty is estimated to keep one in four girls out of school.
Bolsonaro vetoed part of a bill that would have given sanitary products at no charge to groups including homeless people, prisoners and teenage girls at state schools.
It was expected to benefit 5.6 million women and was part of a bigger package of laws to promote menstrual health, which has been approved by legislators.
“Bolsonaro says this project is ‘against the public interest’ – I say that what is against the public interest is that girls lose around six weeks of school a year because they are menstruating,” Amaral told the Guardian.
She was among politicians and other groups outraged by justifications given for the veto – including that giving free sanitary products to poor girls and women would “favour a certain group”.
“The veto is absurd and inhumane,” said Rozana Barroso, president of the Brazilian Union of Secondary Students (UBES).
“Many students are prevented from studying because they stop attending school due to not having a sanitary pad. »