The Moncton Public Library is stocking its public washrooms with free menstrual products.
“We know women face issues with buying these products,” said city librarian Chantal Bellemare.
The library received a $4,000 grant from Desjardins Insurance to fund the pilot project.
Period poverty remains a serious issue affecting women around the world, including young women in New Brunswick.
One-third of Canadian women under the age of 25 say they’ve struggled to afford menstrual products, a 2018 report states.
The report, conducted by Plan International Canada, polled 2,000 women under the age of 25 to see what the social, emotional and financial costs of menstruation were in the country — and the conclusions paint a picture of what life is really like for struggling young women.
“It is especially difficult for young women to afford these products,” said Bellemare who said the library handed out at least 50 products in the first few days and is hoping to find the funding to make their period project permanent.
Moncton’s Beatrice King said the products should also be provided for free in all public schools throughout the province.
“It is part of life and it can’t be avoided,” said King.
The average woman spends about $6,000 in her lifetime on menstrual products.
According to the report, 93 percent of females surveyed and 88 percent of male responded support having menstrual products free in schools.
“I wouldn’t want to see anybody not be able to have the products,” said King.
The Anglophone East School District’s Stephanie Patterson stated in an email that “there is no official program to provide feminine hygiene products in New Brunswick schools at this time.”
The Department of Education and Early Childhood Education said in an email to Global News that it carried out a pilot project with the Anglophone School District West to provide menstrual products to students at no cost.
“The department is evaluating the pilot project and exploring ways to expand the initiative in the province,” wrote spokesperson Danielle Elliott.
In September, public schools in Nova Scotia joined a growing list of places to offer free menstrual products.
With files from Dani-Elle Dubé and Alicia Draus