Pads and tampons already free at Central Okanagan schools

“Access to free feminine hygiene products at school has never been an issue.”

Free pads and tampons are easily accessible in Central Okanagan schools, says a school district official.

“We provide a number of feminine hygiene products to our students at middle and secondary schools,” said Terry Beaudry, deputy superintendent for Central Okanagan Public Schools.

“They are located around different parts of the schools, so female students know where they can go to access products.”

The hygiene products can be found in school offices, counselling centres and learning assistance rooms, added Beaudry.

“Access to free feminine hygiene products at school has never been an issue, in the sense that there are bundles of supplies in multiple locations,” she said.

“We want to ensure our girls are well looked after and they are not put in an uncomfortable position to have to leave the school or head home for hygiene products.”

The issue got attention across B.C. this week when the New Westminster School District announced they made history by providing free pads and tampons to students through coinless vending machines.The difference in delivery of free supplies was something they said addresses inequities.

READ MORE: STUDY AIMS TO HELP WOMEN WITH PAINFUL PERIODS

“We made history tonight! Coin-free period products so no girl stays home from school because they have no access to products,” said Dee Beattie, a trustee with School District 40 in a Tweet.

The vending machines are set to be ready by September.

They are aimed at addressing a nationwide awareness about the struggle to access menstrual hygiene products.

One-third of Canadian women under 25 have struggled to afford menstrual products, according to a 2018 study by Plan International.

That study found that feminine hygiene products were one of the “top three material costs of being a woman” across all age groups.

It also revealed that one-third of Canadian women under 25 have struggled to afford menstrual products for themselves or their dependents.

They also found that 83 per cent of women feel that their period prevents them from fully participating in activities, while 70 per cent say they have missed school or work or have withdrawn from social activities because of their period.

On average, women under 25 specifically say they spend more than $200 more per month on personal appearance and hygiene products than men.

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