TORONTO – According to Plan International Canada, 1 in 3 Canadian women, girls, and other menstruating people struggle to afford menstrual products like pads and tampons every month. This is called period poverty, and two young people are working to combat the problem and put an end to period poverty in the Greater Toronto Area.
Keyna Sarkar is a twelfth-grade student from Peel Region and founder of Red Mvmnt. The charity works to provide menstruating people with reusable period products, like cups and washable menstrual pads.
“At the height of the pandemic we did a drive and collected over 10,000 pads and tampons,” Sakar explains, adding that she realized these disposable products were only a temporary solution to the problem.
Red Mvmnt now provides people in need with more sustainable solutions for managing their monthly bleeding. They also facilitate workshops to teach people how to use reusable products so they can use them safely and efficiently.
“And then they have protection for up to five years,” Sakar added.
Stephen Mensah is the executive director of Toronto Youth Cabinet. The cabinet is currently campaigning to have free pads and tampons provided for staff and students across all Ontario college and university campuses.
“There should be no stigma around something as fundamental as menstruation,” Mensah said during a press conference on International Women’s Day.
“Menstrual products are a necessity, not a luxury. Therefore we must realize that providing all students with convenient access to free pads, tampons, and other menstrual products will help to support their full participation in school activities, reduce stigma, and promote gender equity,” Mensah continued.
“These products should be provided like toilet paper and soap,” Mensah told The Brandon Gonez Show in an interview.
“No one should be living in a situation like this,” Keyna Sakar said, adding that 63% of menstruating Canadians have reported missing out on something like school or work because they do not have access to the sanitary products they need.