An Edmonton initiative is helping women in need of feminine hygiene products as International Women’s Day is celebrated around the world on Friday.
An estimated one third of Canadian women under the age of 25 say they have struggled to afford menstrual products.
It’s an issue Scarlet Bjornson witnessed firsthand with a homeless woman.
“She said, ‘Truthfully, I’d like to get alcohol or a sandwich, but I have to buy some tampons.’ It makes me cry every time,” Bjornson said.
So she started No Period Without, a campaign that gathered 95,000 feminine hygiene products in February.
“It was just an idea and the whole city got behind it,” Bjornson said. “It’s unbelievable.”
On Friday, No Period Without donated enough feminine hygiene products for all 300 women who pass through the WIN House—a non-profit that helps victim of domestic abuse—in 2019.
“Most women, instead of buying feminine hygiene products, she’d rather buy diapers for her kids or formula for her kids. A lot of women go without it,” said Mary Anne Nguyen, WIN House’s communications coordinator.
Making these products more available to women and girls is a movement that is taking off across Canada, as Toronto’s city council provides more funding to shelters, and New Westminster, B.C.’s school board approves free dispensers in washrooms.
The progress has inspired Bjornson, and she will continue to reach for more.
“Why don’t we take it to the government? Why stop here? Why stop now?”