Access to Menstrual Hygiene Products for Homeless Women, Girls and Trans Persons

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FemCare Community Health Initiative has worked hard on the ground to supply women, girls and trans persons in need with menstrual hygiene products in Hamilton, ON. We have raised awareness about the need to change the narrative and shift societal attitudes around periods. Recently, Councilor Kristyn Wong Tam tabled a motion for the City of Toronto to fund menstrual hygiene products for women in shelters. We are proudly joining the growing movement in Ontario to petition our municipalities to provide free access to menstrual hygiene products for all women, girls and trans persons in need. We are set to speak to Hamilton City Council on December 10, 2018 at 1:30 pm!

Almost every woman and adolescent girl can relate to the experience of having a period. In addition to being a sometimes uncomfortable experience, the cost of menstrual hygiene management can be prohibitive for homeless or precariously housed women, girls and trans persons who menstruate. It is estimated that a menstruating woman or trans person will use 11,000 sanitary pads in their lifetime which can add up to nearly $6,000 dollars. 

According to statistics published by The Street Health Report, over one third of women polled had limited or no access to pads and/or tampons. Decision-makers and society at large have wrongfully viewed menstrual hygiene products as a luxury rather than a necessity. However, this could not be further from the truth. Not only does limited access to sanitation and sanitary products comprise a person's dignity and self-esteem, but it can also lead to infectious disease, mental health issues, menstrual discomfort and trouble with the law (often associated with petty theft). 

The United Nations has deemed menstrual hygiene management (access to pads, sanitation and pain management) a fundamental human right. This right is still not being fully realized by many women, girls and trans persons in Canada and around the world. By signing this petition you will be joining a growing movement to move governments to fund access to menstrual hygiene products. We would have not made it this far without the generosity and unwavering support of our community and we are counting on your continued support to achieve our next major goal as an organization.