QUEEN’S PARK — Bhutila Karpoche, MPP for Parkdale—High Park, tabled a private member’s bill today calling for Ontario to declare May 28 Menstrual Hygiene Day in the province.
Menstrual Hygiene Day has been recognized around the world since 2014. The day is aimed at promoting good menstrual hygiene management by breaking down the barriers and the stigmas that people who menstruate can face.
Karpoche was inspired to bring forward a bill to formally mark Menstrual Hygiene Day in Ontario by community organizations like The Period Purse and FemCare Community Health Initiative, as well as the Grade 8 Parkdale Junior and Senior Public School students she is working with as part of the Girls Government program. The program is designed to engage girls in politics, and this year’s Parkdale-High Park group decided to take on the issue of period poverty.
“I have been so impressed with their ability to articulate the problem of lack of access to period products like pads and tampons and their dedication to increasing access to products that help support menstrual hygiene management,” said Bhutila. “I hope my bill will help build momentum around this issue as these students continue their important advocacy work.”
In April, the Girls Government students hosted a press conference at Queen’s Park calling on the province to provide menstrual products for free in public washrooms. The students also got the opportunity to meet and raise the issue with the Minister of Health and Long-Term Care.
Next up, Karpoche will take the students on a trip to Ottawa to meet with Irene Mathyssen, MP for London-Fanshawe, who successfully campaigned to remove HST from period products like pads and tampons.
Karpoche’s bill to declare May 28 Menstrual Hygiene Day has the support of organizations like FemCare Community Health Initiative and The Period Purse, which advocates for menstrual equity and the elimination of barriers that prevent equal access to products and basic needs for all Ontarians.
“Menstrual Hygiene Day is an initiative that encourages positive period conversations and change, reducing the negative stigma still associated with this natural bodily function and improving political discourse and policy,” said Jana Girdauskas, founder of Period Purse.