Where would you go if you or a community member needed access to free menstrual products? If you have trouble answering this question, you have just experienced one of the many barriers associated with addressing period poverty.
Period poverty, a person’s inability to access menstrual products due to financial limitations, is a real issue that affects people across the province and that local organisations struggle to address. According to the 2018 Confidence and Puberty Study by Always, Proctor & Gamble, almost a quarter of Canadian women report having struggled to afford menstrual products for themselves or their children, and 66% say that periods have kept them from participating fully in day-to-day activities of life.
WHAT'S THE PERIOD PROMISE?
The Period Promise is an initiative of the United Way of the Lower Mainland that aims to raise awareness around period poverty and highlight how providing access to free menstrual products increases access to employment, education and social engagement for people who menstruate. Having started as a donation drive initiative called Tampon Tuesday, Period Promise has grown to become an advocacy-based campaign encouraging businesses, organisations, and governments to provide access to free menstrual products.
The campaign has had two large successes: In 2019, The Ministry of Education announced that all public K-12 schools would have free menstrual products in washrooms by the end of that year and; in March 2021, a report was produced demonstrating the effects of period poverty on our communities and community members - the United Way has summarized a few of the key findings here.
The BCFS voted to endorse this campaign in 2019 and has worked collaboratively with the United Way of the Lower Mainland to produce a number of student-focused materials for the campaign. Check them out below!
WHAT'S HAPPENING ON CAMPUSES?
Students’ unions across BC are champions in building awareness and support among institution administrators to provide free menstrual products on campuses. The BC Federation of Students hopes to use the steps taken by the Ministry of Education and public K-12 institutions to support the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Training and post-secondary institutions in doing their part to end period poverty.
Check out some of the latest work being undertaken on campuses by students’ unions and coalition groups at institutions across the province. Together, students' unions are making the provision of period products the norm in BC and helping to make campuses more equitable for all members.
- University of Northern British Columbia will fund free menstrual products in 'period poverty' pilot program
- Thompson Rivers University to supply free disposable menstrual products in all its washrooms
- VIU will supply menstrual products for free in campus washrooms
- North Island College to offer free menstrual products
- Free menstrual products at Douglas College a step forward to mitigating period poverty
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