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Adelaide student wins national honours for fighting period poverty

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Fighting ‘period poverty’ is the goal for Adelaide student and social entrepreneur Isobel Marshall, who is the Young Australian of the Year for 2021.

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The 22-year-old was presented with the award at a ceremony in Canberra on Monday evening – one of the four women who won all of the top awards this Australia Day.

“Period poverty is real,” 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.

Marshall, a medical student at the University of Adelaide, co-founded menstrual product company TABOO in high school with friend Eloise Hall, who was named in InDaily’s 40 under 40 last year, 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.

WINNERS OF THE 2021 AUSTRALIAN OF THE YEAR AWARDS

AUSTRALIAN OF THE YEAR – GRACE TAME

The 26-year-old first made history when she was granted an legal exemption to speak about her experience as a sexual assault survivor. Ms Tame has again made it into the record books as the first Tasmanian to become Australian of the Year. She plans to use the award to continue advocating for abuse survivors and campaigning for better education in order to prevent child abuse.

SENIOR AUSTRALIAN OF THE YEAR – MIRIAM-ROSE UNGUNMERR-BAUMANN

The 73-year-old Aboriginal elder from Nauiyu is an artist, activist, writer and public speaker who has worked to bridge the divide between Indigenous and non-Indigenous society. In 1975 she became the Northern Territory’s first qualified Aboriginal teacher, later becoming a principal and consultant. Dr Ungunmerr-Baumann believes all children should learn about visual art.

YOUNG AUSTRALIAN OF THE YEAR – ISOBEL MARSHALL

The Adelaide medical student has been awarded for her role in co-founding a menstruation product company that gives all its profits to charity, providing education for girls and women in Sierra Leone and Uganda. The 22-year-old’s company also works with charity to provide women needing emergency accommodation in South Australia pads and tampons.

AUSTRALIA’S LOCAL HERO – ROSEMARY KARIUKI

The Kenyan refugee – who now calls NSW home – has been awarded for her work helping migrants combat loneliness as they adjust to life in Australia. The 60-year-old is also a multicultural community liaison officer for police, helping migrants facing domestic violence, language barriers and financial distress.

– AAP

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