Auburn Hospital first in NSW to install ‘Share the Dignity’ vending machine for free pads and tampons

Auburn Hospital quality and accreditation manager Sally Henderson and social worker Jemima Gaunt with period packs from the Share the Dignity vending machine.

Auburn Hospital is the first public hospital in NSW to install a Share the Dignity vending machine, which dispenses a period pack with six tampons and two pads at the press of a button.

Free feminine hygiene products will now be available for members of the public and staff 24 hours a day, 365 days a year in the emergency department at Auburn Hospital.

Founded in 2015, Share the Dignity is an Australian charity dedicated to ensuring women have access to basic sanitary items during their menstrual cycle – particularly women experiencing period poverty.

The vending machine was arranged by Auburn Hospital quality and accreditation manager Sally Henderson, who has been volunteering for Share the Dignity for 18 months.

“The packs are designed to provide 24 hours of access to sanitary products, with no questions asked and no limit per person. We placed it in the emergency department to ensure there is 24-hour public access,” Sally said.

“This is another way we can support dignity for all women in the Auburn community regardless of background, language or any social disadvantage.”

Auburn Hospital social worker Jemima Gaunt said the service would be appreciated by many women who receive support through the hospital.

“Dignity isn’t a privilege; it’s a right.  By providing the community with access to free period products, we aim to maintain the dignity in every woman’s life,” she said.

The vending machine is located within the baby change room in the emergency department and is accessed simply by pressing the green button. There is a 10-minute delay between dispensing packs to protect against misuse.

Auburn Hospital is also a collection point for the March Dignity Drive, where members of the public are encouraged to donate pads, tampons, period underwear, incontinence pads, menstrual cups and other sanitary items.

You can make a donation at Auburn Hospital or any Woolworths store in the country. Learn more here.