Dignity. Period.

Submitted by Erin Casey

Close your eyes. Just for a minute. I want you to imagine something.

You are getting ready for work in the morning. Your clothes are laid out on the bed, your hair is done, and it’s almost time to catch the bus. As you take off your pajamas you realize you’ve started your period. You just spent your last $20 on food and payday isn’t till Thursday.

You’ve paid your rent and utilities for the month, bought a few school supplies for the kids, and have very little left for food before your next Income Assistance cheque. You visit a food bank to help fill the gap and hope your period doesn’t come any time soon.

It’s 10:30am. Your teenaged daughter calls you from school because she got her period and she doesn’t have a loonie for the tampon dispenser. She’s too embarrassed to ask for help, so you tell her she better stuff some tissue in her underwear and come home.

You have no pads, no tampons, and no money to buy any. Imagine.

What I’m describing is called period poverty. One-third of Canadian women under the age of 25 say they’ve struggled to afford menstrual products (Plan International Canada, 2018). One in seven girls in Canada have either left school early or missed school entirely because they don’t have what they need to manage their periods (Always Confidence and Puberty Study, 2018).

Nova Scotia is the province with the highest rate of food insecurity in Canada. When people with periods can’t afford food, they can’t afford other necessities. They likely have to choose between groceries and period products, often putting their children’s needs ahead of their own.

Dignity. Period. is a campaign to help people with periods in Nova Scotia access the menstrual hygiene supplies they need to thrive—to live safely and with dignity. We’re inviting people across the province to host Pad Parties and collect donations of period products for Feed Nova Scotia to distribute to their 145 member food banks, meal programs, and shelters.

Dignity. Period.’s goal is to increase donations of period products to organizations and people in need. We’re also working to bring period poverty into the light of day, so women, girls, and trans and non-binary people with periods are not limited by a normal biological function.

Period poverty doesn’t discriminate. Anyone can be affected. Since I started this campaign, I’ve heard from many people who’ve personally experienced period poverty—a young mother of school-aged children on Income Assistance, a prominent businesswoman, and a grad student who just finished her master’s degree. It could be someone you know.

Menstrual hygiene products are not a luxury. They are as essential as soap, water, and toilet paper. Without them, we cannot maintain our health, participate fully in school or work, or reach our potential.

Ending period poverty is an important part of working toward gender equality. There is no empowerment without dignity.


To host your own Pad Party or learn more about Dignity. Period., visit us on Facebook or email  dignityperiodcampaign@gmail.com

Erin Casey is a professional writer and editor living in Halifax. Her passions include thrifting, spelling bees, and menstrual justice. erinelainecasey.com