The Manitoba government is honouring the Day of the Girl on October 11 by handing out 500 period packs in Manitoba women's resource centres. The province is considering spending $1 million annually on this endeavour, but for now, they are just testing it out. The packs will include menstrual products, mini chocolate bars, and deodorant.
The province is considering having menstrual products readily available across public schools free of charge, according to CBC.
Rochelle Squires, the Status of Women Minister, told CBC that "the intent is really to destigmatize getting your period in the first place. We know that a lot of girls can't afford to have supplies on hand and that can lead to them missing school."
If they decide to expand this project to schools in the province, all girls from grades 7-12 would be covered with tampons, pads, and other hygiene products.
The Manitoba Sun reports that during the election campaign, the Manitoba NDP promised this service to all girls from grades 6-12. It is unclear whether the age range will start at grade 6 or 7 if implemented.
The cost of just putting them out for one day was reportedly $4,500.
The cost of having this service available all year round has different estimates across the board. Squires said her government estimated it would cost $1 million annually.
Malaya Marcelino, the NDP MLA for Notre Dame, told the Manitoba Sun it should only cost $300,000 a year.
Today, they are not being handed out to schools, but to nine women's resource centres instead, at a cost of $4,500.
Although the two women may disagree on the prospective cost of this service, they do see eye-to-eye on the fact that this is a service worth implementing, says the CBC.
"We know that girls often miss class because of their period and it's something our government is looking at," Squires said.
The International Day of the Girl is every October 11 and is an international day of observance declared by the United Nations. It has been in effect since 2012 in an initiative to increase awareness of gender inequality that girls face, along with services for girls to access.
The Manitoba period pack initiative is a way to recognize and address a hurdle that girls face every month — their periods. Products can be expensive, and providing them in schools is a simple yet effective way to make sure girls have one less thing to worry about.