March 23, 2022
Treaty 1 and Dakota Territory, Homeland of the Red River Métis, Winnipeg MB – While the PCs refuse to tackle the problem of period poverty, the Manitoba NDP introduced legislation to provide free menstrual products in schools. The bill, introduced by Health Care critic Uzoma Asagwara, would amend the Public Schools Act to require menstrual hygiene products to be available free of charge to students.
“Every day students in Manitoba miss out on valuable class time and extracurricular activities because they do not have access to menstrual products,” said Asagwara. “We can’t allow this to continue. The PCs need to pass this bill so we can end period poverty and help students focus on learning and the activities they love.”
Research from Plan International Canada shows that a third of Canadians under age 25 who menstruate have struggled to afford menstrual products, and almost two-thirds ages 14 – 55 have missed activities because of a lack of access to menstrual products.
The Manitoba NDP have been calling for free menstrual products in schools since 2019. For the last three years the PCs have claimed to be considering it. Last March when Asagwara asked the PC government to follow through with the policy, PC Minister for the Status of Women Cathy Cox, refused to answer the question and said her government was offering girls data blockers instead.
“Manitoba students deserve a government that is comfortable talking about menstruation and works to remove barriers for students who menstruate,” said Asagwara. “Our public schools need to be safe places that set students up for success. Providing free menstrual products in schools not only helps students learn, it decreases the stigma around menstruation and advances equality.”