Breaking the stigma. Period.

Mira Cappello is the event coordinator for the Champions of Change club at the University of Regina. The Champions of Change club is making a difference in the lives of menstruators by providing free tampons and pads for those who need them. Photo by Kaitlyn Schropp

The Champions of Change club is looking to make a difference in the lives of women – and everyone who menstruates – at the University of Regina.

“I think it’s really important that women feel safe and included,” said the Champions of Change event coordinator, Mira Cappello, 19.

“I think more people than we think about, especially here in university, are actually struggling to make ends meet and to get [menstrual] products,” said Cappello.

The stigma that surrounds a woman’s menstrual cycle affects not only women but, trans people and non-binary people as well. The Champions of Change club at the U of R is trying to break the stigma by offering free menstrual products to students from Feb. 24 to March 20.

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It’s an exciting day today! After everybody’s hard work of preparing the posters, kits and products, we finally launched our period project! As a direct way to tackle period poverty, there are 4 stations across campus that have period products for students to access. There are 4 locations (Ad Hum Registrar’s Office, Office of Indigenization, Luther Financial and KHS Facilities Services Office)! Anytime you or someone you know is in need of a pad or tampon they are available at those locations from today till March 20th! – Though the stations are not located directly in the washrooms due to sanitary and security reasons, we hope that all menstruating people from every/any identity feel welcomed to use our stations! The stations even contain different sizes of pads, tampons and liners! – We would like to thank our sponsors and our community for the help and the hard work they have done to make this project a reality. Thank you to @risingyouthtig , @sherwood_coop , and @edwardoalvaro for designing the posters and finally, the @uofreginaofficial Custodial Services for their immense support and dedication to our movement. 👏💓 – Stay tuned for upcoming details about the project and remember to SHARE this post and let everyone know U of R is here to break the period stigma 👊

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As written in the Huffington Post, on average a woman spends 2,280 days on her period.

This natural process in a woman’s life is taboo and expensive. On average a woman will spend over $2000 on menstrual products during her reproductive life.

“Having a uterus comes with some unique challenges and extra responsibilities that not everyone is aware of,” said Taryn Wahl, the education coordinator at Planned Parenthood Regina.

“If you look at how much pads and tampons cost per month, for someone who’s making minimum wage, or someone who’s a teenager, that’s just an extra expense. That might not seem like a lot to some people but for a lot of people it is.”

The Champions of Change club was given a grant from the Canadian government organization “Rising Youth.” From this grant the group was given enough funds to purchase tampons and pads to be given out for free at four different offices on campus.

Cappello explained how giving out menstrual products for free, they are helping break down the stigma surrounding periods.

“And I think this [project] is a big part of that,” said Cappello.

“Like, if you’re running late to class and you realize you’ve got your period and you don’t have any products that’s a really stressful situation. And that can bar you from getting your education or from wanting to go to class.”

Other organizations in Regina are helping women in a similar way.

“Menstruating every month, you do need to worry about hygiene and to be able to use things like pads, tampons, or menstrual cups, so that you can still keep living your life and doing whatever you need to,” said Wahl.

“And that comes with extra cost, extra worry, and then as well needing to worry about birth control …  Which is why, at Planned Parenthood, we sell birth control at the lowest cost possible to try to increase that access for people.”

But women don’t only deal with the stigma surrounding periods.

“In our society there are these little microaggressions and layers of discrimination that women face,” said Cappello.

For example, women also deal with the pink tax. As stated on the “Listen Money Matters” website the “pink tax” refers to the extra amount of money women pay for specific products or services.

Cappello explained that the pink tax is a “systematic issue.”

“If you think about like men’s razors versus women’s razors, the way that they’re marketed and then the way that they’re priced is so different. And so [women are] expected to pay a little bit more to look a certain way.”

“[This happens] especially with tampons and pads, because that’s such an obvious necessity,” said Cappello. “Like, it’s just absurd to me that we would, or that we’re expected to pay extra for such important items.”

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Here at the Champions of Change Club, we strongly believe that both education about menstruation and access to menstrual hygiene products are a human right rather than a luxury. Girls, women, and those who menstruate around the world, including Canada, face both these issues. Because many are still not educated and do not have full access to menstrual hygiene products, our first project is to bring to light the struggle of period poverty, and educate others to help eliminate the taboo surrounding menstruation. But, we also want to take the necessary steps to change this sad reality, which is why we hope to implement free pad and tampon stations across the U of R to aid those who struggle with period poverty in our community! 🗣 – – #plancanada #endperiodpoverty #endperiodstigma #endperiodshame #equality #championsofchange #humanright #periodpower #notaluxuryproduct #educate #keeptheconvogoing

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Cappello mentioned that it was tough to get the university administration to get the project set up but they are hoping this trial run will cause the university to think twice and implement this project themselves.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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