Free menstrual products will be available in female and all-gender washrooms in all schools within the Thames Valley District School Board starting in September 2021.
“Thames Valley is expanding its menstrual equity initiative to provide free period products in all elementary schools beginning next fall,” said student trustee Tasnia Rahman in a YouTube video announcement.
“Such an initiative has been in effect at all secondary school since 2019 and now elementary students are going to have the same provisions.”
Student trustee Mahek Dhaliwal added that “period poverty, inclusivity and accessibility” are all issues that the initiative hopes to address.
“In light of the fact that London has the third-highest rate of child poverty in the country and that menstrual management is a pervasive part of one’s learning environment, it’s absolutely imperative to dismantle barriers to good menstrual health.”
Wednesday’s announcement is the latest extension of a program that began as a student-led initiative in 2017.
The initial push was spearheaded by former student trustee Sarah Chun and was supported by community groups Here for Her and Tampon Tuesday. In 2018, a pilot project expanded access to free menstrual products in washrooms to all secondary schools.
The program moved beyond the pilot phase in 2019, with vending machines with free pads and tampons set up in all-female and non-binary washrooms in TVDSB secondary schools before Wednesday’s announcement, which expands it further to include all elementary schools as well.
Rahman added, “this updated initiative would support all who menstruate, including transgender and non-binary students, in accessing products without having to navigate conversations that may feel uncomfortable or challenging.”