Period Equity Partner: Bleed the North
Committed to ending period poverty, one pack at a time.
Working with grassroots organizations like Bleed the North is everything for us here at joni. By working with those on the front lines and in touch with those who need support the most, we're able to distribute safe period care across the country. Bleed the North never fails to inspire us with their positive attitudes and passion for change. We asked them a few questions about their mission; enjoy their inspired answers below!
What is Bleed the North’s mission and how did you get started?
Bleed the North is a federally registered, youth-led nonprofit organization. We are committed to ending period poverty and stigma by providing menstrual products to people in need across Ontario.
We hope to educate our community on the dangers of period poverty and work to promote menstrual legislation in Canadian politics. We promise to see the ways in which menstruators are affected by their periods and learn from those who experience menstruation and period poverty in all of its complexity, together.
What do you do to bring your mission to life?
Bleed the North has three main pillars: service, advocacy and education, through which we promote our mission. Our service team is responsible for addressing the immediate need for period products in our communities.
The team has partnered with dozens of shelters across the country to distribute products as widely as possible Our advocacy team pushes for menstrual legislation in Ontario’s legislature and action by other actors. The team has been responsible for pushing for change through school boards and student trustees. Our Education Team works to end period stigma through teaching about periods in social media campaigns and other projects. The team is currently working on a talk show called “The Daily Flow”, aiming to teach young people about menstruation.
To date, how many period products have you been able to provide toward achieving period equity in your community?
Since our inception, Bleed the North has donated over 80,000 period products across the province. In the month of May 2021 alone, we were able to donate over 9,000 products.
What does period equity mean to you?
Period equity means EVERYONE has access to the period products that they are most comfortable with, regardless of their race, gender, socioeconomic status or any other identity. Period equity means we acknowledge how nonbinary, trans and racialized menstruators are at even further disadvantage because of their periods. Period equity means that EVERYONE has access to education about their periods. Period equity means EVERYONE is able to menstruate with dignity and without fear of stigma or discomfort.
What do you think is the biggest barrier to Canada reaching period equity?
Canada’s biggest barrier to reaching period equity is the incessant lack of prioritization of access to period products. Canada has continually fallen short on delivering equity-based legislation and services to ensure that people with periods don’t need to choose between bleeding safely and food on the table. We need strong leadership in Canada’s legislature and by other nongovernmental actors to push for free period products, just like our international counterparts.
What accomplishment is Bleed the North most proud of?
There are so many things we’re proud of: founding Canada’s first-ever National Period Day, growing a team of over 60 youth, quadrupling our service goal in our first year. It’s too difficult to decide what we’re most proud of.
One story that sticks out is when we were reached out to by a grade 5 living in BC. She began following Bleed the North and was really inspired by the work we were doing. She told us that in her unit about menstruation, she wanted to teach them about period poverty and stigma as well as the anatomy. We ended up getting the opportunity to call into her grade 5 class and teach them about Bleed the North. They were all so excited: it was like we were celebrities!
They told us about how when they first started learning about periods, they were giggly and uncomfortable. By the time they were speaking to us, they were so comfortable learning about period poverty and period stigma, menstruator or not. They ended up being so inspired by Bleed the North’s mission, they worked to make period packs and donated their own products to their community.
How important to Bleed the North are partnerships with social enterprises like joni?
Partnerships with social enterprises like joni are extremely important to Bleed the North! Firstly, because our operations rely completely on the generosity of donors, partnerships allow us to have a more consistent stream of products to service menstruators in need. Secondly, we at Bleed the North acknowledge that period poverty is only one of many social issues affecting Canada today. By working with social enterprises, we are able to collectively address multiple issues at once, while elevating one another’s platforms to spread awareness and create a stronger impact. - Briana Tang
What can people do in their own communities to fight for period equity?
There are so many ways that people can help fight for period equity! The first is donating time, money and products to grassroots organizations (like Bleed the North!) This is how we address the on-the-ground need for menstrual products. However, there are so many other ways to advance our mission, including having conversations about menstruation and period equity with your friends and family. You can also do research on transitioning to sustainable period products, or write to your Member of Parliament and school board to lobby for accessible period products. The opportunities are endless!