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Hamilton to consider menstrual products for low-income women, girls

Hamilton's board of health will examine providing menstrual hygiene products through schools and shelters.
Hamilton's board of health will examine providing menstrual hygiene products through schools and shelters. Nick Westoll / Global News

Hamilton’s Board of Health is tackling issues related to the affordability of feminine hygiene products.

Recently, city councillors approved a motion asking staff to review the cost and implementation of providing free menstrual hygeine products to shelters, drop-in centres and others who work with homeless, street-involved and low-income women and girls.

READ MORE: One-third of young Canadian women can’t afford menstrual products, report finds

Ward 1 Coun. Maureen Wilson’s motion will also see city representatives enter into discussions with school boards about ensuring that hygiene products are available at Hamilton’s middle and secondary schools.

WATCH: What is period poverty? Study finds women under 25 struggling to afford menstrual products

Click to play video: 'What is period poverty? Study finds women under 25 struggling to afford menstrual products' What is period poverty? Study finds women under 25 struggling to afford menstrual products
What is period poverty? Study finds women under 25 struggling to afford menstrual products – May 29, 2018

Speaking on behalf of the Femcare Community Health Initiative, Halima Al-Hatimy told the Board of Health on Wednesday afternoon that any availability currently is through donations and the “altruism of our community.”

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READ MORE: ‘Menstrual equity’ means free pads, tampons in all-gender bathrooms in London high schools

She adds that since it became the first American city to install pad and tampon dispensers in schools in 2016, New York City has seen absenteeism drop among young girls, .

READ MORE: Women say they were banned from bringing tampons to Medical Council of Canada exam rooms

Coun. Wilson says it’s a constant battle to eliminate stigma, adding that she’s “dismayed” and “frustrated by the number of advertisements that are out there that try to make menstruation discreet.”

As a mother of three children, two of whom are girls, she describes it as a “constant battle to underscore to them and with them that it is natural, it is normal, and in fact, it’s a source of power.”

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