The city is calling Calgary’s free menstrual product program a success after distributing over 40,000 products to those who need them.
The program, called “Free. Period.”, started in September 2021 in partnership with the Calgary Public Library and Youth Central’s mayor’s youth council. The initiative provides free pads and tampons to anyone who needs them by making them available in washrooms across the city.
The goal is to alleviate period poverty, a term that refers to the inability to access menstrual products due to costs, especially for youth and vulnerable people. A 2019 study showed nearly a quarter of Canadian women and a third of women under 25 are struggling to afford menstrual products for themselves or their dependents.
“Having access to period products is a basic right. We wanted to help remove the stigma that is often associated with menstruation and make tampons and pads more available to anyone in need,” said Alex Stevenson, a member of the mayor’s youth council.
“We are very pleased to see how the program has expanded and moved us closer to addressing period poverty in Calgary.”
Janet Lin, community strategies liaison for the City of Calgary, said the response from Calgarians has been very positive.
“We have seen steady usage since the program was launched,” Lin said. “We have heard from Calgarians that this is a needed and valued program. So, the city will continue to make investments into the program, and we have done this by expanding the program to more locations over the last year.”
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