People will soon have easier and more affordable access to menstrual products with the launch of the United Way Period Promise Research Project. 

With the support of a $95,000 government grant, the project will distribute menstrual products to 15 non-profit agencies across B.C., who will make them easily accessible to their clients. 

Research that breaks down barriers

The project will also collect data on how period poverty affects people’s lives, helping United Way and the Government of B.C. build effective community-based solutions to the problem. 

“Period poverty can create barriers and leave people who menstruate isolated and vulnerable,” said Shane Simpson, Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction.

“This research, led by United Way and supported by organizations in communities throughout the province, will help us better understand how we can create meaningful solutions, together.”

This province-wide initiative is a first-of-its-kind research project. The pilot exemplifies how government, the non-profit sector, and the business sector can work together to find local solutions to the complex issues surrounding poverty. 

A natural next step

For years United Way has been responding to the issue of period poverty, or how lack of access to menstrual products impacts the lives of vulnerable girls, women, trans and non-binary people.  

The campaign has been taken up by a wide range of champions, especially leaders in the labour movement. 

Period Promise co-chairs, Sussanne Skidmore and Nikki Hill, look forward to what this research means for policy change moving forward.  

“There’s no denying that the Province has already made B.C. the leader a leader Canada in terms of improving access to menstrual products,” says Nikki.

“But there is a long way to go before we solve period poverty. This project will make the necessary next steps forward much clearer.”

“Better understanding the need on a local level is invaluable for the Period Promise campaign and its champions,” added Sussanne, Secretary-Treasurer at the BC Federation of Labour.  

“Accurate research will help our stakeholders best support people who menstruate, wherever they call home.”  

How partners help us reach more people

What’s more, Always and Tampax has partnered with United Way to provide menstrual products at a significantly reduced rate. This has allowed us to increase the number of participating agencies from eight to 12. Now more vulnerable populations around the province can participate in the pilot, receiving free menstrual products. 

Partner agencies for this project work closely with United Ways across British Columbia, highlighting the valuable role we play as a convener of service organizations and social development in our communities. 

“Our Period Promise campaign is all about collaborating with our partners and mobilizing the public towards solutions,” said Michael McKnight, President & CEO of United Way British Columbia. 

To do this with government, other non-profit organizations, sponsors, and volunteers all on board demonstrates the province-wide change we can create, together.” 

In addition to working with the Province, the network of B.C. United Ways and non-profit organizations across the province, the United Way British Columbia is proud to partner with Pacific Blue Cross, Vancity, and Always and Tampax in making this project possible. These partners are enhancing the support already provided to the campaign by workplaces, donors, and the more than 20 organizations that have already signed on to the Period Promise Policy Agreement.  

Whether through this research project, policy change at an organizational level, or the provision of donated menstrual products, United Way is reducing the vulnerability and isolation caused by period poverty.  

It’s all thanks to our generous supporters, donors and volunteers.  

This is local love.