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Water & Sanitation

How a Major New Zealand Retailer Is Tackling Period Poverty


Why Global Citizens Should Care
Period poverty is the lack of access to sanitary products, menstrual hygiene education, toilets, handwashing facilities, and waste management. Every day, girls and women around the world miss school or work because they're unable to manage their periods. To end poverty, we must pass legislation that breaks harmful taboos about menstruation, provide education, and promote safe sanitation. You can join us and take action on this issue here.

One of the largest retailers in New Zealand is now accepting period product donations from shoppers.

The Warehouse announced on Monday that it will setup period product donation boxes in ten stores in Northland, Auckland, and Waikato, according to the news site Stuff. The retailer will continue to distribute boxes throughout the next year and is also making free period products available in store bathrooms.

The effort is a collaboration with the advocacy group the Period Place, which is working to help end period poverty by 2030.

The Period Place will take the period products collected at The Warehouse stores and allocate them to community groups that support people experiencing period poverty.

“We want customers to know that every time they buy products to add to these donation boxes, they're ensuring young people can keep attending school, single parents won't have to choose between food and period products, and that people facing difficult circumstances are afforded the dignity they deserve," Period Place co-founder and CEO Danika Revell told Stuff.

In addition to setting up donation boxes, The Warehouse is also adding an educational “Period Portal” to its website where users can find information about periods and make period product donations.

The Warehouse first started addressing period poverty by selling affordable period products for $1 NZ in 2019, Chief Product Officer Tanya Benyon told Stuff. For every 10 period products sold, the store donates one pack to the family violence organization Women’s Refuge.

Shoppers responded well to the project and wanted to know what else they could do to address period poverty, Benyon explained. 

The Warehouse's efforts are a part of growing awareness around period poverty in New Zealand. 

Analysis by the University of Otago estimates 94,788 girls between the ages 9 and 18 may not be able to afford period products in New Zealand. What’s more, nearly 95,000 9-to-18-year-olds may stay at home during their periods due to not being able to afford period products, according to New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. The government announced in June that it would make period products free in 15 schools and schools nationwide will have the option to participate in the program in 2021.

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