Carley Stewart, from the national organization The Period Purse, shared some startling statistics with CFUW Perth and District at a presentation on February 27. According to Plan International Canada’s research, 34 percent of women and girls in Canada often or occasionally make budget sacrifices to afford menstrual products. Some girls and women miss school and work because they can’t afford to purchase period supplies. They estimate that a Canadian woman spends up to $6,000 over her lifetime on period products, and women in rural and remote communities can pay up to double the price that urban women do.
The presentation spurred CFUW to raise awareness of this issue and to launch a drive to collect donations of pads, tampons, menstrual cups, and period underwear. The Table Community Food Centre eagerly endorsed the initiative and will be distributing the collected materials to those who need them.
CFUW put the word out and asked members and the public to bring donations to their March 21 meeting or to take period products directly to The Table. In total, 160 pounds of menstrual hygiene items were donated. Wendy Quarrington, the Good Food Bank Coordinator, said that these products are a necessity of life, but the Table’s budget does not allow for their purchase, so they depend on donations to meet the demand. She was thrilled to receive such a large contribution but estimated that even this generous supply would last only about three months.
One of the donations came from a community member who shared her own experience, “In university I struggled to afford basic hygiene products and used everything to the last possible moment/drop. One day, I found a bag of assorted products on my room door handle was touched someone had noticed. It was a HUGE gift in my life, and I’ve never stopped paying it forward.”
CFUW Perth and District is committed to promoting human rights and the advancement of girls and women through education and advocacy. CFUW Perth and District co-president, Marlene Starkman, said CFUW hopes to make this an annual activity.