Many are unaware of the period poverty that lives on in Canada. Essentially period poverty is an economic condition that prevents individuals to purchase menstrual supplies. People have to choose between food for the month or menstrual supplies. The founder of FemCare; speaks about her personal struggle with her period costs. “Al-Hatimy says she's had times in her own life where she's used rags, panhandled and gone hungry to afford menstrual products…one week out of a month, I had to eat less to afford those products" (Craggs, 2018).
The costs of these supplies are unjust. Studies show that women feel their “period prevents them from fully participating in social activities and up to 70 percent say they have missed school or work because of their period (Dube, 2018). There are issues that arise abroad as well. In Nepal, women are made to sleep in a hut while menstruating. (Gettleman, 2018). As well, even some religions have a strong viewpoint. For example, “Many Hindus believe that the energy or chaitanya of a woman’s body is polluted during menstruation” (Mohan, 2019). The cost is extremely high for menstrual supplies and Canadian women “spend up to $6,000 in their lifetime on menstrual hygiene products” (Craggs, 2018)
The Red Dot Project, which is a non-for profit, provides homeless menstruators with menstrual supplies. They have partnerships with shelters and are extremely hands on as well. The fundamental aspects that drive their organization are that menstruators “have enough supplies to manage their entire period and they are able to choose how they manage their period.” (Red Dot Project). This is proven when they go out to the streets, they ask individuals if they’d prefer pads or tampons. As well, their mission is for menstruators to have a safe and hygienic period.
The reality is that some individuals who menstruate handle their period in an unhygienic way. If one is leaving a tampon in for too long they are at risk of getting toxic shock syndrome, which can be deathly. Some individual’s use whatever they can get their hands on such as newspaper, tissues, t-shirts etc. Menstrual Hygiene Day is happening on May 28th and the it is “a global platform that brings together non-profits, government agencies, individuals, the private sector and the media to catalyze advocacy and action towards a world where women and girls are no longer limited because of their periods.” (Menstrual Hygiene Day Organisation). The province of Ontario is raising awareness on this day on how individuals do not have the funds or recourses to access menstrual supplies. This day also tries to look at what kind of aid can be provided to these individuals and what are alternate solutions. As well, it “contributes to the normalization of menstruation, as menstruating is a natural bodily function, and access to menstrual products is as necessary as access to soap, water and toilet paper.” (Bhutila Karpoche).It is time to take action and support an amazing advocate by the name of Bhutila Karpoche.and sign her petition.
The link is provided here: https://www.bhutilakarpoche.ca/menstrual-hygiene-day