Period poverty in Regina is an issue for menstruators, where period products aren’t free. This comes in direct comparison to Edmonton, who announced in April 2021 that they would be providing free products in public restrooms. But there’s still change happening in Regina.
In March, United Way Regina ran an event known as “Tampon Tuesday,” coordinated nationally by United Way Centraide Canada Labour Partnership and Bell Media. United Way asked for donations of menstrual products in an effort to help end period poverty in Regina.
According to the Canadian Public Health Association (CPHA), women in Canada spend approximately $6000 on menstrual products in their lifetime, and people in rural communities may spend double that of someone in a city.
Amanda Lanoway, Director of Engagement at United Way Regina, said many people are living with period poverty. She said period products should be accessible to everyone.
“In addition to raising awareness about the importance of providing for people’s basic needs we are increasing access to products,” Lanoway said. “Tampon Tuesday provides an easy mechanism for anyone to contribute to the cause.
“We hope that by talking about periods and poverty we reduce stigma around both topics making it easier for those who suffer from period poverty to ask for help.”
Lanoway said Tampon Tuesday was a huge success. Donations were received in collaboration with the Regina Food Bank, Regina Public Library and Shoppers Drug Mart. In total, they collected 1, 117 boxes of period products, and received $2, 828.33 in monetary donations from various organizations.
New public health orders mean @OfficialRPL locations are closed starting March 28 so we picked up @TamponTuesday product donations yesterday. Drum roll 🥁 TY #yqr for contributing 197 boxes of menstrual products in just 19 days at 9 branches. #periodpoverty @UnitedWayRegina pic.twitter.com/BAjHWEH1f4
— Amanda Lanoway (@alanoway) March 28, 2021
However, Lanoway said Tampon Tuesday isn’t just about getting supplies to people who need them.
“The strategic outcome of Tampon Tuesday is really about changing societal attitudes toward menstruation and poverty,” Lanoway said. “We hope that by talking about periods and poverty we reduce stigma around both topics making it easier for those who suffer from period poverty to ask for help.”
Alexis Losie, the Senior Director of Operations at the YWCA, said many of the women who come to them regularly ask for period products.
“We are not provided a budget to hand out many of the life altering items that people come to us in search of,” Losie said. “Menstrual items are something I would say we have a request for on a very regular basis. Without a budget to be purchasing these to provide to people, we have no access.”
Losie said the women who come into the YWCA don’t take the donations for granted, and that period products are consistently available because of those donations.
“It’s not just one or two, you know, it’s like ‘let us give you supplies that’s going to get you through for the next little while,” Losie said. “We also try and make sure that our staff are always stocked with menstrual items.”
Sophia House, a second stage housing facility for women and families escaping violent homes, also received products from Tampon Tuesday, and for them, it’s a similar story – a non-profit with no funding for vital items like menstrual products. This means they, too, rely on donations.
“Any donations that we can receive we are really thankful for because those can go straight to the women who need them,” said Executive Director Tmira Marchment.
Marchment said the women at Sophia House are also incredibly grateful for donations like the one from Tampon Tuesday.
“A lot of our women are on income assistance and are living in severe poverty,” Marchment said. “So to have to purchase those products is something that people can’t do all the time. So to have those products for free is just an amazing way to share with people that they shouldn’t have to pay for these products.”
Marchment said period products are a necessary part of life. Initiatives like Tampon Tuesday help to bring awareness to the problem of period poverty.
For more information, visits the national website at http://www.tampontuesday.com/.