Students from Oak Bay High School’s Interact Club are trying to combat period poverty in their community and hope to get more people talking about menstrual inequality.
The club has started a donation campaign to raise money for those who struggle to afford menstrual and other hygiene products.
“People who menstruate have to prioritize their food and rent over period products,” said Katie Bentley, an Interact Club member.”Without these sanitary products, people who menstruate will be forced to miss work or school and may develop health problems.”
The club has also partnered with Shed Red, an organization trying to address period poverty in a number of ways, to run the campaign. According to Shed Red, almost a quarter of people who menstruate globally struggle to pay for products and the average person who menstruates pays $6,000 on products during their lifetime. A 2019 Plan International Canada survey found a third of the Canadian respondents regularly or occasionally sacrificed something else within their budget to afford menstrual products.
A Shoppers Drug Mart-commissioned survey last summer found that 14 per cent of the Canadian respondents used unhygienic alternatives – like socks, rags or old t-shirts – due to not being able to afford proper period products.
The club says menstruation is still considered “taboo” to many and discussion around period poverty is still lacking. That’s why it wants more open conversation about menstruation to end any stigma or shame associated with it. The Plan International Canada survey also found that about 40 per cent of Canadian menstruators have been teased about being on their period.
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