Would you rather spend your last $5 to buy your kids food for lunch or on 16 pack of Carefree tampons, which isn’t even enough to cover you for the entirety of your period?
Unfortunately, for hundreds of thousands of women in Australia, this is a genuine and undignifying issue they must face.
Next month, you can help local women experiencing period poverty by donating sanitary items in the Share the Dignity collection boxes at your nearest Woolworths store.
All period products from the August Dignity Drive are collected by local Share the Dignity volunteers and donated to locals in need.
There are roughly 13 million women in Australia, nearly 7 million aged between 15 and 54-years-old, and the average age of first menstruation for Australian females is between the ages of 11 and 14.
Fifty thousand menstruating women in Australia are homeless, freezing and starving on the streets, unable to afford the basic decency of sanitary products.
Countless women raising children, working for minimum wage, are forced to toss the tampons, so their children have something to eat for lunch the next day.
According to Jean Hailes for Women’s Health, on average, a woman in Australia has 450-500 periods in her lifetime and uses more than 12,000 tampons or pads depending on one’s flow.
With a 16 pack of tampons averaged at $5 a pop, not even covering an entire period for the average Australian, women across the country are forking out over $20 a month for sanitary products.
Today, in 2022, up to 1 million menstruating women are experiencing period poverty, women who struggle to afford sanitary products, with many missing school and work as a result.
When Rochelle Courtenay learned of homeless women and girls going without essential sanitary items during their menstrual cycle, rather than asking, “why is no one doing anything?” She asked, “what’s stopping me from doing something?”
So in 2015, Ms Courtenay founded Share the Dignity to help make a difference for women and girls experiencing homelessness, fleeing domestic violence or doing it tough.
Share the Dignity has moe than 5000 volunteers Australia-wide, but the Sheroes and Heroes from the Sale region are urgently calling for volunteers, with a busy six months of initiatives ahead, starting with the August Dignity Drive.
Kyla Earsman is a local Share the Dignity volunteer and is urging more people to join the cause and help ensure local donations reach the women and girls of the community who need them.
“It is so rewarding volunteering for Share the Dignity,” Mrs Earsman said.
“We run two Dignity Drive’s a year, in March and August. There are Share the Dignity collection boxes in local Woolworths stores for the entire month where people can donate period products.
“Our local team of Sheroes and Heroes collect these products and distribute them across the region for girls and women in need.
“Then, at the end of the year, we run Share the Dignity’s annual event, ‘#ItsInTheBag’.
“In November, there are Share the Dignity collection boxes at Bunnings stores where we encourage everyday Australians to put together bags filled with essential items to donate to someone in need for Christmas.”
Since 2015, Share the Dignity has provided Australian women, girls and those who menstruate, struggling with period poverty, with more than 3.4 million packets of pads and tampons and over 721,999 essential-filled handbags.
Ms Courtenay said she was continually blown away by the incredible generosity of Share the Dignity volunteers, and called for more to come on board in the Sale region.
“Share the Dignity would not exist without the generosity and devotion of our volunteers across Australia,” she said.
“I am so thankful to everyone who gives up their time to ensure women, girls and those who menstruate can manage their period with dignity and have access to the very basic of essentials.”
Mrs Earsman encouraged all locals interested in volunteering to help end period poverty to sign up on the Share the Dignity website, https://www.sharethedignity.org.au/get-involved/volunteer.
“I can’t wait to see more volunteers join us in Sale,” Mrs Earsman said.
“It is an incredible feeling to drop period products and handbags filled with essentials to domestic violence shelters, community centres, homeless shelters and other charities that request items.”