It’s been with increasing pride that the Aisle team has been watching recent strides by the Canadian government toward ending period poverty.
The latest news, that Food Banks Canada will be administering a national pilot to provide free menstrual products as part of a $25 million Menstrual Equity fund, is yet another example of this. Food Banks Canada operates multiple locations across Canada, and is uniquely well-positioned to provide people in need with menstrual products in addition to food. It makes abundant sense that those experiencing food insecurity are similarly dealing with period poverty, and to be able to address both needs in one place is wonderful.
It’s not yet clear whether the products being provided will be exclusively disposable, however we are hopeful that given the federal government’s strong commitment to sustainability and plastic waste reduction, that they may take this opportunity to incorporate sustainable disposables as well as reusables.
As we have seen in our decades-long experience in creating menstrual equity solutions, there is no ‘one size fits all’ solution to period poverty. Access to disposable products is an indispensable, short-term solution, however diverse products and access points need to be part of a more inclusive, sustainable solution. Giving users the option of reusable products also reduces demand for single-use pads and tampons.
Increasingly, organizations like post-secondary institutions and employers are opting to include reusable options like cloth pads, period underwear and menstrual cups in order not only to meet sustainability goals, but moreover to increase access and improve user choice. As always, we are here as experts and longtime activists to support these amazing initiatives in whatever ways best serve the greater good.