Menstruation is a natural, healthy part of life. Yet too often people who menstruate are held back by their periods.
Our new report, “Let’s Talk Periods”, released in partnership with Plan International Canada, finds that period shame, taboos and misinformation are still prevalent across Canada and have a negative effect on young people’s confidence and self-esteem.
- Period hiding behaviours are common among young people (age 13 – 21).
- 83% have tried to hide the fact they’re on their period from those around them.
- Talking about periods is taboo amongst adults (age 18-70).
- Canada ranks in the bottom half of countries surveyed with respect to society’s support of talking openly about periods.
- Canadians feel more comfortable talking about sex and politics than they do about periods.
- There is a low level of understanding about periods in Canada.
- Nearly 1 in 4 young people don’t know why some people get periods and how to manage them.
- Over 1 in 3 young people who menstruate didn’t feel prepared for their first period.
- The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated many menstruation-related challenges that people face in Canada.
- Nearly 1 in 5 young people feel like they’ve learned less about puberty and periods due to school closures.
- 1 in 7 have struggled to access the period products they need & 1 in 7 are worried about their ongoing ability to afford them.
Lindsay Glassco, Plan International Canada’s President & CEO, says:
“The number of people who feel ashamed to talk about periods is staggering, but the issue worsens when you consider the impact of period poverty and stigma. If we cannot talk about periods because they are ‘taboo’, we fail to address serious issues around accessibility and affordability of menstrual products, as well as the knock-on impacts of girls missing out on education and inclusion in social and cultural activities.”
Geraldine Huse, President, P&G Canada, says:
“For more than 35 years, Always has been committed to creating positive social norms around menstruation and helping young people have access to the period products they need to stay confident and continue all their day to day activities. This report further highlights the critical need to continue to tackle period stigma in Canada and ensure that everyone is equipped with the information needed to have period conversations. By talking openly about periods and advocating for period-friendly legislation, we can normalize what is in fact a normal part of life.”
What can we do to address these issues?
Always and Plan International Canada are helping combat these issues by providing free menstrual health education to young people and community members, as well as enabling access to period products, and sparking conversations around periods to fight the stigma.
You can help:
Share your period story here and help show the world that periods are a natural, healthy part of life.
Get educated about periods – access free resources here.
Advocate for period-friendly legislation, like the provision of free period products in schools.
Show your support by posting a story or picture of yourself and a menstruation bracelet sticker on Instagram! Learn more here.
Want to learn more about period stigma around the world?
Check out our latest report, released in partnership with WASH United, the initiators of Menstrual Hygiene Day, here .
Plan International's work in menstrual health and hygiene is rooted in gender equality and evidence of the harmful impacts that not being able to manage one's period can have on girls, women and those who menstruate. Their work includes sharing information about periods, talking with community members, particularly men and boys and ensuring everyone understands the importance of access to menstrual products. They provide women and girls locally sourced menstrual hygiene products through several channels including schools and humanitarian programs, and they support local women and girls led entrepreneurship in producing period products.
Plan International Canada is a member of a global organization dedicated to advancing children’s rights and equality for girls. Plan International has been building powerful partnerships for children for over 80 years and is now active in more than 75 countries.
Visit plancanada.ca for more information.