Ensuring All Students Have Access to Period Products in Schools

  • Executive Council
  • Office of Women and Gender Equality
  • Education

October 25, 2021

Today the Provincial Government announced details for making period products available to students in the K-12 school system. This initiative will ensure that young people have access to period products without worrying about cost, stigma or embarrassment.

The Honourable Andrew Furey, Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador, the Honourable Pam Parsons, Minister Responsible for the Office of Women and Gender Equality and the Honourable Tom Osborne, Minister of Education provided information on the roll-out of this initiative that will lift barriers to education that can result in missed opportunities, uncomfortable conversations and unhygienic solutions.

Also participating in today’s announcement was Paula Sheppard, President and CEO of the Provincial Advisory Council on the Status of Women, which provided guidance and recommendations to government on how to implement this new policy.

By January 2022, products will be available in at least one bathroom in every school that has students in Grades 4 and above. Schools will also be provided with posters indicating in which bathroom(s) the products can be found in their school. This is being supported through an investment of $30,000 as announced in Budget 2021.

According to Plan International Canada, women and individuals who menstruate face challenges in accessing and affording period products, and many still feel stigmatized by this basic health function. According to the research:

  • 63 per cent of Canadian women and girls in 2019 had to miss an activity regularly or occasionally because they were menstruating and had concerns about not being able to access either menstrual products or appropriate facilities;
  • 34 per cent of women and girls in Canada have had to regularly or occasionally sacrifice something else within their budget to afford menstrual products, a phenomenon known as period poverty;
  • 58 per cent of female respondents said they occasionally or regularly felt the need to lie about being on their period or hide a menstrual product; and
  • 41 per cent of female respondents said they have been occasionally or regularly teased by a male about being on their period, including by friends, colleagues and relatives.

The added misconceptions of menstruation and gender diverse students can have an even greater impact. This initiative ensures that no student will face the indignity of not being able to access these essential health products.

Quotes
“The lack of access to period products has been an unacceptable barrier to education that has resulted in missed opportunities, uncomfortable conversations and unhygienic solutions. Young people in Newfoundland and Labrador should not be losing out or feel embarrassed because they cannot afford or cannot access menstrual products. This program is an investment in youth health and wellness.”
Honourable Andrew Furey
Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador

“Ensuring access to period products in schools is an important step toward gender equality and gender inclusivity. Everyone who menstruates should have access to the products they need. Providing period products free of charge to students will help improve social and emotional well-being while reducing stigma and promoting gender equality.”
Honourable Pam Parsons
Minister Responsible for Women and Gender Equality

“While there are obvious health and social reasons for investing in period products for students in our schools, it is also an investment in education. This funding will ensure that no students have to miss instruction or social activities in their school community due to a lack of access to these essential products.”
Honourable Tom Osborne
Minister of Education

“We welcome the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador’s commitment to student mental health and wellness by providing equal and equitable access to menstrual products in schools. It is a fundamental shift to improve accessibility and reduce period poverty-a financial barrier that is a reality for many in our province.”
Paula Sheppard
President and CEO, Provincial Advisory Council on the Status of Women

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Media contacts
Meghan McCabe
Office of the Premier
709-729-3960
meghanmccabe@gov.nl.ca

Danielle Barron
Office of Women and Gender Equality
709-729-5188, 691-2944
daniellebarron@gov.nl.ca

Tina Coffey
Education
709-729-1906, 687-9903
tcoffey@gov.nl.ca

Paula Sheppard
President/CEO, Provincial Advisory Council on the Status of Women
709-753-6124
paulasheppard@pacsw.ca2021 10 25

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