Recently in the city of Toronto the push to supply free menstrual products to those who need them has gained traction. "Last year, the mayor and city councillors committed to making sure free menstrual products are provided in city shelters, drop-ins, respite centres, and community centres." Fast forward to March 4th, 2019 Toronto's city council has passed a motion promising to fund the supply of menstrual products within the cities funded shelter system.
According to a statement released from the office of Kristen Wong-Tam a formal vote pertaining to this matter will take place on March, 7th 2019, with hopes of having the results in for the following day. International women's day just so happens to fall on March, 8th 2019 which does not seem to be out of coincidence.
In this statement released by Wong-Tam she states"Menstrual Equity is an important part of a larger goal - to bring a gender equity lens to governmental budget processes. It is important that we continue the conversation about equitable investment in programs and services accessed by women, girls, Trans and non-binary individuals. We must analyze and address the hidden financial inequities that are causing women and their families to be left behind." So far the city has sought to allocate an additional $222,359 in order to cover the costs associated with installing dispensers, as well as to fund the menstrual supplies.
Other organizations in the city of Toronto have attempted to bring about positive change relating to this matter in the past. James Kesteven the co-founder of Period Project in the city stated in a Toronto Star article that it would potentially cost the city $1.9 million in order to provide vulnerable menstruators with the required supplies. Furthermore the author of this Toronto Star article went on to say that "Across the country, there are about 204,500 vulnerable women and girls in need of these products, according to the data; in Ontario, the number is about 86,300.
There is an immense need for our political representatives to properly fund initiatives such as these, in order to ensure our most vulnerable populations are supported. Along with supporting these menstruators the city of Toronto has the opportunity to be at the forefront of the fight to eliminate stigmas that exist surrounding menstruation.
This move by the city is welcomed and needed but it does not solve the issue of period poverty for everyone. Groups like Red Dot Project and Period Purse must continue to find those who do not access services and are living on the streets. As a city, we took a huge step in the right direction. Let's continue to take steps forward so EVERYONE can have access to the supplies they need to manage their periods.