Partner Profile: Period Purse
Dignity. Education. Menstrual Health for All.
The Period Purse is near and dear to our joni hearts with a shared vision for period equity in Canada while breaking down stigmas around menstruation. With values that include kindness, dignity, impact, empowerment, enthusiasm, community, and the power of one, they're an organization that inspires as much as they support. To date, The Period Purse has supported around 90,000 healthy periods and counting! Partnering with joni since 2020, we hope to help them support many more over the years to come in our mission to empower everyone who menstruates.
What is The Period Purse’s mission and how did you get started?
The Period Purse (TPP) strives toward menstrual equity and to reduce the stigma of periods through education and advocacy. TPP was founded in 2017 when our Founder, Jana Girdauskas, wanted to put together one purse with period products for someone experiencing homelessness.
How do you bring your mission to life?
The Period Purse has 15 chapters across Canada with more added every month. We donate free period products to those experiencing homelessness and living in the margins. Also, to reduce the stigma of periods, we are educating our next generation through period positive virtual presentations and advocating at all levels of government for systematic changes. It’s a lot for us to do, but we have a mighty volunteer team passionate about our mission to make this a reality in their community.
To date, how many period products have you donated to your community? How many periods does TPP support each month?
In four years, we have donated over 2.3million period products in 22 communities! In the first four months of 2021, we have donated over 30,000 healthy periods, which is more than we did all of 2020 (which is a full month’s supply of period products).
What does period equity mean to you?
Menstrual equity to us at The Period Purse means affordable, accessible, and safe period products where people who menstruate have access to what they choose. Our vision is to provide free access to dignified period products of choice.
What do you think is the biggest barrier to Canada reaching period equity?
STIGMA! Decades of learning and teaching that periods are dirty and shameful have made periods unknown, uncomfortable, and taboo. Due to this stigma, we know less and, therefore, we do less. We need to reduce the stigma of periods to really move toward menstrual equity in Canada.
What accomplishment is TPP most proud of? How has TPP has positively impacted an individual?
TPP was the advocate voice that brought additions to the City of Toronto’s budget where each shelter gets some funding for period products. It’s not enough for “free period products for all”, but it’s a huge step in the right direction.
TPP has impacted so many individuals, such as those who we have donated products to, like Karen—who now works in a shelter and wants all the people to have clean, free pads from us—or Jess—who carries products around in her backpack to give to her friends.
We also have opened minds and changed the lives of volunteers, like A who wrote about us in her college application, or T who won graduate volunteer awards. It’s those changes and that impact that keep us going!
How important are partnerships to TPP with social enterprises like joni?
TPP’s partnerships, like joni, help elevate our mission. It makes it easier for us to bring free and clean period products to those who need them. Pads are always the most frequently requested period product, and we are so proud to give them good quality pads like joni. Partners like these make us stronger, we can reach more people, and work towards menstrual equity together.
What can people do in their own communities to fight for period equity?
Everyone can do something to help period poverty in their city. From running a mini drive with their friends, starting a TPP chapter or donating to an existing chapter, sharing our social media posts to spread awareness, or even donating $15 to sponsor one menstruator with free period products. Every bit helps and makes a difference.