The 2023 Period Poverty campaign is underway with a goal of increasing access to free menstrual products for people on South Vancouver Island.
United Way Southern Vancouver Island is behind the campaign, and aims to address period poverty in the region.
“Period poverty is more than an inconvenience—when people miss important social events, school, appointments, or workdays, it can stop them from reaching their full potential,” says Erika Stenson, UWSVI executive director.
“It’s also an issue where caring and connected organizations can easily make a significant impact, so we are challenging local businesses, workplaces, and unions to work together to eliminate period poverty.”
Period poverty is when people who menstruate do not have access to menstrual products or facilities to safely use them.
Research by the United Way Period Promise campaign in 2021 found that approximately 51 per cent of people who responded to the group’s survey have struggled to buy menstrual products.
READ MORE: Half of people who menstruate in B.C. affected by period poverty in lifetime: report
The UWSVI is looking for donations of menstrual products which will then be distributed to a number of service agencies in the region.
On May 28, the group will be hosting a Fill the Bus event for International Menstrual Hygiene Day. A BC Transit bus will be at Tillicum Mall from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., with the hope of filling the bus with unopened boxes of tampons, pads and other menstrual products.
READ MORE: Free period products to be available at Greater Victoria Public Library branches
Additionally, UWSVI encourages companies looking to address period poverty to sign on to the Period Promise campaign, where companies agree to provide free menstrual products in washrooms for staff and customers.
UWSVI has a toolkit of resources for companies looking to set up a product drive for the Fill the Bus campaign or to make the Period Promise on its website.