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It’s the year 2000 and I’m sitting at a wooden lab desk in my Year 6 primary school science class, sun shining through the big glass windows, learning about the birds and the bees and all that jazz.

I remember my primary school science teacher well: a no-nonsense Polish woman often forced to repeat the catch phrase—when faced with a class of squeamish 10-year-olds half-fascinated, half-repulsed by the birds and the bees—“But it’s only natural!”

On this particular occasion she was teaching us about—prepare for squealing children—puberty. And she was annoyed. “The government has a tax on sanitary pads,” she…

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