British Columbians who have difficulty accessing menstrual products will soon have a wider range of free items, which will be available thanks to a recent investment into the United Way Period Promise research project by the BC government.
Near the end of July, the province will provide a $95,000 grant to 12 different non-profit agencies to help distribute free menstrual products to vulnerable populations in the province.
The grant will also go towards funding quarterly data research that records the number of people served, the products used, and the effects of “period poverty” — a term used to describe how people’s lives may be affected by financial limitations that stop them from purchasing menstrual products.
“Period poverty creates barriers and stigma, and leaves people isolated,” said Shane Simpson, Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction in a statement.
“This research will help us better understand how we can create solutions that will make a difference.”
Earlier this year, BC announced that all public schools must provide free menstrual products by the end of 2019.
Additionally, in June, Victoria became the first city to join the United Way Period Promise.
On June 17th, the city announced that it would provide free menstrual products at several civic facilities this summer, starting with City Hall, Crystal Pool and Fitness Centre, and downtown public washrooms.
“Having a period is a part of life for more than half our population, and not being able to afford basic hygiene products can be devastating,” said Mitzi Dean, Parliamentary Secretary for Gender Equity.
“Tackling period poverty closes the gap on gender inequality.”