May 28th, 2019
Waterloo Region District School Board is taking on period poverty in every school.
Period poverty exists in 88 percent of secondary schools in the Waterloo Region District School Board (WRDSB). Over 80 percent of schools reported providing menstrual products to students weekly.
Period poverty refers to having a lack of access to period products due to financial constraints or not having products when needed. Not having access to products impacts not only a students education, as many do not attend school as a result, but also their well-being. Asking for products can cause anxiety and shame.
Starting in September, students who menstruate will be able to access period products for free in every school and alternative education site. Products will be available for students in the accessible, all-gender bathrooms, eliminating the stigma associated with asking for products.
“No student should have their learning disrupted because they cannot access products,” said John Bryant, director of education. “I am proud that we will be the first school board in the province to offer free products to students who need them in all of our schools, including our alternative education sites and education centre.”
Providing free products to students is one step towards menstrual equity, which will allow students to attend school physically and emotionally, without stigma or barriers.