A lot has happened since our Founder, Jana Girdauskas, filled her first period purse in February 2017. As 2023 draws to a close, let’s take a look at some of the many milestones that mark our nearly seven-year history.
In February, Jana made a Facebook post asking for a spare purse for her new ‘Period Purse’ idea. In less than a week, she had 11 purses.
The media picked up on the idea, and Jana was soon making local news headlines.
Within a month, she and her network of volunteers packed over 300 purses, and the Period Purse took off.
In October 2017, high school student and TPP volunteer Tait launched Menstruation Nation.
Our Board of Directors was inaugurated in 2018 and TPP’s first Strategic Plan was launched soon after.
Following relentless advocacy by TPP alongside city Councilor Kristyn Wong-Tam, the City of Toronto recognized Menstrual Hygiene Day for the very first time on May 28, 2018.
Toronto City Council also passed a motion that year to allocate $255,000 CAD in the 2019 budget for menstrual products in shelters, drop-ins and health centres.
In 2019, TPP made history as the first federally registered charity in Canada dedicated to achieving menstrual equity.
Member of Parliament for Parkdale-High Park, Arif Varani, brought national attention to the menstrual inequity when he spoke about TPP in the House of Commons.
We continued to support marginalized menstruators during COVID-19 and adapted our work as needed.
We introduced Mini-drives to keep things going during the pandemic, and they have since stuck around.
In 2021, we launched the Collective: a place where donors can support menstruators on a monthly basis for as little as $15 per month.
Due to growing demand, practicality problems, and the pandemic, we had to say goodbye to purses and switch to period packs.
Despite the switch, we remained The Period Purse to honour the distinct story that started our movement.
By TPP’s fifth birthday on February 20th, 2022, we had donated over 3 million period products to menstruators in need.
In June, we launched our Menstruation Nation App (Apple verison): a period tracker and educational resource designed by youth and for youth, which tracks absolutely no personal data.
We also run Employee Engagement Packing Parties at our storage facility: a perfect team building exercise that is also tax-deductible.
We closed our Chapters across the country and shifted to our mini drive program to make it easier and more accessible to everyone.
In June, following two years working alongside a First Nations community, we launched the Moon Time Zine to help young people learn about menstruation.
As of mid November, The Period Purse has donated over 4.9 million period products.
Our work is anchored on three pillars: Outreach, Advocacy and Education.
We advocate for healthy periods and bring awareness to menstrual inequity through our advocacy work and educational programs. We offer various period-positive presentations for schools and workplaces, virtually or in-person.
We are so grateful for everyone who has contributed to our cause over the years. We look forward to keeping up the important work we do until our vision becomes a reality: where menstruation is understood and treated with dignity, and period products are free for all.
People who menstruate are grappling with the rising cost of living and this impacts their ability to afford period products, especially those who experience period poverty. According to a report released in March 2023 by Women and Gender Equality Canada, one in five people who menstruate indicate they may struggle to afford period products over the next year.
Inflation began in mid 2021 and increased to its fastest pace in four decades. By fall 2022, nearly half Canadians stated they were concerned with their household’s ability to afford housing or rent, and one in four Canadians said they were unable to cover an unexpected expense of $500. Inflation remains persistently high today and according to Statistics Canada’s Consumer Price Index, the cost of personal care items like tampons and pads are up 6.2% compared to last year.
Inflation has exacerbated period poverty, making the situation more dire for those already experiencing it. In an interview with Global News, Meryl Wharton, president of Allan Gardens Food Bank, shared that a client needed pads for her three daughters. The Food Bank could only give her six pads and she cut them in half in an effort to prolong the usage.
This is the stark reality people face where wages and earnings are not increasing at a rate to keep up with the growing prices of food and shelter. As the cost of living continues to rise across the country, advocates share that many people who menstruate are unwittingly choosing between feeding their families and buying menstrual products.Wondering how you can help ensure that those who menstruate have adequate access to period products? Visit The Period Purse to find more information on donating.
Periods 101, our education presentation that covers the basics of menstruation for kids in grades five through nine, is our most requested presentation. For many of our young participants, it’s the first time they’ve had any period education. Inevitably, one of the adults in the room will also say, “I didn’t know that!” or, “How did I not know that?”
The answer is that when it comes to periods, many adults did not receive adequate education. Many of us only had a single class devoted to periods in middle school, and the topic never came up again, except behind closed doors, with friends. For some people, especially those who don’t menstruate, it never came up at all. A lack of education leads to stigma, something that is evident in the shocking statistic that only 46% of Canadians are comfortable talking about periods, ranking it lower than sex, politics and STIs (Plan International Canada). Kids take their cues from the adults around them, so if you aren’t comfortable talking about periods, chances are they won’t be, either.
We decided to address this discomfort by creating a new education presentation specifically designed for parents, caregivers, and any adults looking to become more period literate and therefore be a trusted, period positive resource for the kids in their lives- now our fifth period positive presentation!
How To Talk to Kids About Periods is designed for adults who want up-to-date information on periods, period products and how to find the words to talk about a subject that for some, may be a little uncomfortable. In this one-hour education presentation participants will learn:
Tips and tricks for normalizing period talk at home
The importance of using the right language
Period basics, including some of the FAQs we get from kids in our presentations
The range of available period products and how to use them
What a typical tween period looks like (and how to know when it’s coming)
How to prepare for a child’s first period
This presentation can be presented virtually across Canada or in-person in the Greater Toronto Area. We’d love to educate your book club, parent council, community leaders, staff or any other group hoping to become confident, informed, period positive resources for the children in their lives. To find out more or to book a presentation, email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
It’s hard to believe that just over a year ago, we launched M. Nation, our free iOS period tracking app - for youth, by youth. We were proud to work alongside the Privacy Pro and U of T Blueprint on our iOS app last year.
But wait… Not just iOS and Apple users menstruate! What about us Android users?
This year, we were delighted to work alongside another team of U of T Blueprint designers and developers to create an Android version of the M. Nation app.
Now, you can download M.Nation on all Android devices here!
Just like our iOS M.Nation app, the Android version is free and inclusive for all youth who menstruate. We love that both versions of our app respect users’ privacy. The M.Nation app stores all the data locally on each users’ device. We don’t collect and can’t access any users’ data.
As a user, you have the option to link your data to your Google or iCloud drive so that you can make sure your period tracking data travels with you device to device. But whether you want to do that is up to you!
Our app has a “more information” page, so there’s an opportunity to learn not just about your symptoms and cycle, but your period product options, too!
Now that our app is available to both iOS and Android users, we hope more menstruators will become comfortable tracking their period cycle, naming their symptoms and feel more confident with their bodies and periods.
We hope that you will check it out!
Are you looking for a unique and impactful team-building experience that will not only bring your corporate team, book club, group of friends & family closer but also contribute to a vital social cause? Look no further! We invite you and your team to join us for an educational and engaging two-hour session at our storage facility in Etobicoke, where we tackle the issue of period poverty and work towards menstrual equity. By participating in this event, you will gain valuable insights into an important social issue and also actively contribute to making a difference in your community.
Together, you will count, sort, and pack donated materials, preparing them for distribution to local menstruators in need. By engaging in these practical tasks, you will experience the fulfillment that comes from actively making a difference in the lives of others.
During the two-hour session, you will be introduced to the concept of menstrual equity, which goes beyond simply providing products but also aims to ensure that everyone has access to safe, affordable, and appropriate menstrual care. As your team packs period packs, we will shed light on the scope of period poverty, its impact on individuals and communities, and the importance of our mission.
The cost of this team-building experience is $400* (price set to increase Fall 2023), with all fees directly contributing to our mission. Join us on a journey to support menstrual equity and create positive social impact.
*fee goes directly towards our mission and you’ll receive a charitable tax receipt.