'This is about accessibility': Free menstrual products coming to Edmonton Public Schools
EDMONTON -- In early April, a motion was put forward to the Board of Trustees for Edmonton Public Schools highlighting a need for free access to menstrual products in the public school system to help mitigate period poverty.
The motion was passed on Tuesday during the Edmonton Public School Board (EPSB) meeting.
“Providing free access to these products levels the playing field,” Trisha Estabrooks, board chair for EPSB, said.
“If we can do something that further enhances that by providing access to these free products, I think it’s great.”
Estabrooks credits the voices of her colleagues, students and the community for bringing this topic to light.
In the report from April 13, Estabrooks says there’s evidence that while menstruation is part of every day life, it continues to be stigmatized.
“A contributing factor to it is a lack of access to free menstrual products in public facilities.
“The inability to access period products has implications for students within Edmonton Public Schools,” she added.
The reports says poor hygiene can cause physical risks linked to issues such as reproductive and urinary tract infections. It’s estimated one-in-seven Canadian girls have either missed school or left school early because of a lack of access to period products.
According to the document, a third of young Canadian women cannot afford menstrual products.
“This is about accessibility, it's about recognizing that period products are essential, they're basic, basic supplies that should be offered to students,” Estabrooks said.
Administration is now exploring ways to make this initiative happen, including possible partnerships with EPSB, similar to what’s been done in other school boards in the country.
“The goal would be to have these products in our schools starting next school year,” Estabrooks said.