By Vivian Collings
Students say that menstrual equity is long overdue in Trillium Lakelands District School Board schools.
The TLDSB G7 Student Senate raised the idea to the Board of Trustees to provide students with free menstrual products in an effort to promote accessibility and reduce the stigma surrounding menstruation.
“Data indicated that menstruators face challenges when it comes to affording, accessing, and talking about menstrual hygiene products. It’s a reality that students leave school early or miss an entire school day for reasons related to menstruation,” said a TLDSB press release.
As a result of this study, menstrual products and dispensers have been installed in many TLDSB schools in both women’s and all-gender washrooms.
At Haliburton Highlands Secondary School, the need for this campaign can be evidently seen by both students and teachers.
HHSS G7 student representative Cassidy McMullen-Szpik said, “Many people, in our school and even our communities, don’t understand the difficulty in not being able to afford, access, or even talk about menstrual hygiene products.”
Christine Carr, teacher at HHSS, said that the campaign is sorely needed, because although the school has some products available at present, many students don’t want to rely on what is there.
“It also helps remove the stigma around feminine products when they are discussed openly and students can participate in the initiative,” Carr said.
In an effort to raise menstrual awareness within school communities, the G7 Student Senate has also created the Menstrual Equity Challenge as part of the campaign.
“We are collecting any unopened menstrual hygiene products such as tampons, pads, and Diva Cups. The products will be donated to a local organization in order to support our own community, as this is not only a student issue but a global one,” Cassidy said.
The challenge is a competition between TLDSB schools to see who can collect the most products. The campaign began at HHSS on May 9 and will continue until May 23.
Cassidy said, “The student body [at HHSS] has taken this campaign very well. There is excitement within the school. We are a very competitive school, and many students have the drive to win the challenge.”
For more information see the TLDSB website.