Tackling Menstrual Inequality —One Tampon at a Time - theHumm March 2021
Tackling Menstrual Inequality —One Tampon at a Time - theHumm March 2021
By Jessie Carson
On July 1, 2015, the federal government removed the “luxury” tax (GST) from all menstrual products. This was a monumental shift in beginning to combat period poverty in Canada. Many provinces followed suit and exempted menstrual products from provincial sales tax as well. Prior to this, householders already saved GST on items like cocktail cherries, wedding cakes and products required for incontinence. What was monumental was not the 27 cents saved on a $5.49 box of 16 tampons; it was the recognition that menstrual products are not a luxury but an essential item for all menstruators in Canada.
This hopeful shift was seen not as a solution to gender, health and economic inequality, but rather a solid step in the right direction. Even though the bill was passed in 2015, two prior attempts had been made to government and were ignored. Like all social movements, the road is often long, but with persistent effort by many individuals, movements can continue to make small hopeful steps. This has been the case in the movement to normalize menstruation.
More recently, in 2019, the Government of Canada published a Notice of Intent seeking feedback on amending Part II of the Canadian Labour Code to include menstrual products as a basic necessity in federally regulated workplaces. This would be in addition to the toilet paper, soap, warm water and a means to dry hands that must already be provided by private-sector employers in the federal jurisdiction (including banks, railways and airlines), Crown Corporations, and the federal public service. The conversation is happening; however, the final decision has not yet been publicized.
Just this January, the Ottawa Carleton District School Board passed the resolution to make menstrual products accessible to all grade 4–12 students. This will make a difference to a large percentage of young women: according to Plan Canada International (2018), one-third of women under 25 lack access to menstrual products because of financial constraints.
Without a doubt, all these milestones are to be celebrated.
Yet still, in Canada, we are far from establishing menstrual equity. British Columbia and Nova Scotia now require that all schools in the province provide free menstrual products to their students. We should have this in all schools across Canada. Even harder hit than the one-third of young menstruators are those who are experiencing homelessness and those who have fled their homes due to violence and seek safety at shelters. Women often leave home with few belongings and little, if any, money.
Women’s shelters in Canada rarely have an adequate budget to allocate for menstrual products, if they are budgeted for at all. Shelters, including Lanark County Interval House in our community, receive many donations, but sanitary products are often overlooked.
One Ontario woman who was experiencing homelessness describes her experience of having to get creative each month by fastening multiple smaller pads together and, at times, having to use toilet paper to attempt to contain the blood. Other individuals who have spoken out about their struggles have shared that they have used socks, newspapers and paper towels. What menstruator out there has not been caught in a bind out in public, at work, or at home out of supplies? Many of us are able to quickly run to the store and stock up. But for some of us, this is not always possible.
For all menstruators who cannot pay for their menstrual products, it is an uncomfortable, demeaning and shameful experience that recurs every month.
A non-for-profit organization called The Period Purse was started because Jana Girdauskas saw this gap and has made it her mission to achieve menstrual equity by providing marginalized menstruators with access to free menstrual products, and to reduce the stigma surrounding periods. The Period Purse receives financial and product donations and assists communities, like ours, to initiate menstrual product drives for marginalized menstruators.
A group of women in Almonte is teaming up with The Period Purse and Lanark County Interval House and Community Support (LCIHCS) to run a local drive during the month of March to collect menstrual products for their clients. LCIHCS does not have a budget for menstrual products, and it is estimated that 1000 menstruators come through the shelter each year. This does not include the ones who are supported by community outreach.
Ensuring menstruators an appropriate supply of sanitary products provides them with a sense of dignity during their 5–7 menstruating days of each month. By making a small financial donation or by donating products, you will be a part of the long road to end menstrual inequity and to help make menstruation respected as the natural and normal process that it is.
Call for Donations and Support
Donations to the March Menstrual Product Drive will be accepted throughout March. If you would like to donate products, please email Jesse Carson at email@example.com or call 292-0450. You can either drop them off at an Almonte location or there will be a pick-up time during the month in Carleton Place, Almonte, Pakenham and Arnprior.
Products accepted include pads, tampons, new underwear and new cloth masks. If you would like to make a financial donation instead, please go to canadahelps.org/me/Q48qf7F . A tax receipt will be provided for online donations. Every $15 donated will purchase a one-month supply of period products, and every $180 provides a one-year supply.
By Sally Hansen
Art… and Soul
Landscape artist Katherine Muir Miller’s brilliant paintings tap into the same subject matter that inspired Canada’s beloved Group of Seven artists — the great northern Canadian landscape in all its seasonal glories. This is where she finds her inspiration — rooted in her mother’s deep love of trees and fostered by her own and her five children’s passion for the magnificent and wild Canadian outdoors.
Many Canadians can’t look at a painting of stark pines outlined ag......
On Tuesday, March 23, theHumm invites you to Zoom in from 7–9:30pm for a conversation with Robynne Eagan, writer Jacob Berkowitz and associate professor Sophie Tamas. This will be the third in our series of Winterwords Cafés, and is open to everyone!
Speaking on the topic of “writing in challenging times”, Jacob will share his creative experience during the pandemic of writing a play, a non-fiction book, and working at his day job as a science writer.
Sophie will talk about “the (mis)use......
More Fun, Less Stuff - theHumm March 2021
By Mike Nickerson lives near Lanark, Ontario, and is the author of Life, Money & Illusion: Living on Earth as if we want to stay.
A meme to remember when the challenges of climate and inequality get you down: MORE FUN, LESS STUFF.
On a good day one can sense, through the fog of our world’s problems, a faint light. A glimmer of a place where humans live in balance with the Earth and with each other.
Viewed from the challenges of today, that place seems to be another dimension. And it is. The values by which people manage themselves are dimensions of worlds we might build, and this alternate dim......
As we emerge from the Covid lull, we have an opportunity to recreate our world.
On Tuesday, March 16 at 7pm, theHumm presents a Zoom discussion with Mike Nickerson, author of Living on Earth as if We Want to Stay.
The story about work, pay, investment, profit, living off other’s efforts, and perpetual economic Growth is running out of room on our finite planet — Mike will discuss changing the cultural narrative. What are the economic myths that keep us captivated in the money paradigm?......
By Bob Betcher is the president of the MMLT
Each year the Mississippi Madawaska Land Trust, in association with its Annual General Meeting, has a guest speaker who entertains and informs us on nature or other issues associated with the preservation of wild land. On March 31 the talk will be a little unusual for the Land Trust, but a very special event for our members and the general public.
Our guest speaker will be Mike Daniels, Head of Policy and Land Management at the John Muir Trust based in Pitlochry, Scotland, not......
We All Belong — Mississippi Mills - theHumm March 2021
By The WABMM Team
Would you like to be part of a new video project in Mississippi Mills? We All Belong — Mississippi Mills (WABMM) is a fledgling group started in response to acts of intolerance in our community. It plans to offer projects through which people can feel supported to share their stories, knowledge, and perspectives, in order to increase understanding and acceptance in our community. We hope to share projects that illuminate and celebrate our existing and growing diversity in Mississippi Mills. We a......
The first Covid lockdown hit pretty much right in the middle of maple season in 2020. Here we are almost a full year later, and local sugar bushes are still dealing with pandemic pressures. Never one to shy away from a challenge, Shirley Fulton-Deugo — with help from her family and Fulton’s “Team Awesome” — has been pivoting like crazy to open their 400-acre property to the public and get maple products safely into the hands of all of us who are starved for a taste of Spring.
theHumm: We are so gl......
By Jessie Carson
On July 1, 2015, the federal government removed the “luxury” tax (GST) from all menstrual products. This was a monumental shift in beginning to combat period poverty in Canada. Many provinces followed suit and exempted menstrual products from provincial sales tax as well. Prior to this, householders already saved GST on items like cocktail cherries, wedding cakes and products required for incontinence. What was monumental was not the 27 cents saved on a $5.49 box of 16 tampons; it was the recognition that menstrual products are not a luxury but an essential item for all menstruators in Ca......
Step Out of the River - theHumm March 2021
By Vickie Walsh
Is it me, or does the pandemic bring the term “March madness” to a whole new level?! Even with some solid positive coping strategies, I still feel it.
This feeling reminds me of the Paulo Coelho quote: “You drown not by falling into a river, but by staying submerged in it.” Let’s step out of the river.
In 1999, I was 21 years old, relatively new in the military, and on my first deployment to East Timor. Two years prior to that I had a tank accident that left me wearing dentures for a few yea......
The Ground Beneath Our Feet - theHumm March 2021
By Chandler Swain
This month’s focus is on a small group in our community called the Farm Working Group, one of nine working groups within the Climate Network Lanark (CNL).
For a taste of what they are doing, let me introduce three members to talk about why they are participating to bring farms into the conversation about their important role in Climate Action.
Scott, you are the facilitator of the Farm Working Group for CNL. I know the group is still in its f......
Who Ya Gonna Call? - theHumm March 2021
By David Hinks
As someone who is intensely interested in local gardening, particularly vegetable gardening, I frequently peruse local gardening Facebook groups. Some of my favourites are Master Gardeners of Ottawa-Carleton, Almonte and Carleton Place Gardeners, Edible Ottawa Gardens, and Eat Local, Buy Local in Lanark County. I often find that there are some really good responses from the Ottawa Master Gardeners.
What strikes me about posts this time of year is the number of questions and comments about starti......
Jim Hake: Ladies Night - theHumm March 2021
Sivarulrasa Gallery is delighted to launch a program of simultaneous exhibitions this year! A solo exhibition of paintings by Almonte-based artist Mary Pfaff entitled Mary Pfaff: Companions is currently running in Gallery I, where it will continue until March 26. For the inaugural show in Gallery II, they are pleased to present Jim Hake: Ladies Night, an immersive solo installation of sculpture by Toronto-based artist Jim Hake. This show will run from March 10 to April 16.
By John Pigeau
In the strangest of times, Ann Shea’s happy story just seemed to fall into place, neatly if unexpectedly — rather like chapters in a good book.
Once upon a time, she found herself shoe shopping with her sisters in Almonte.
“I grew up in Aylmer, and my three sisters still live in Ottawa and the Valley,” Ann explains. “They are frequent visitors to Almonte, particularly drawn to the shoe selection at Crush Marketplace. In August, I was in the area and they invited me along for t......
Calling all thespians and dramatic artists! Are you feeling deprived of the opportunity to pursue your passion during this pandemic? Are you looking for ways to connect with like-minded souls and engage in the creative exploration that is part of working together to put on plays? Do you miss the performance, the social interaction, the intellectual and creative "buzz" that comes from the rehearsal process itself?
If so, the Studio Theatre Perth has a solution for you! They ......
Mindfulness Mini-Course - theHumm March 2021
These days, over 80% of Ontario’s health services are being delivered remotely. When asked by the United Way of Leeds and Grenville how Country Roads Community Health Centre could help more people in their homes, a video program seemed a logical idea. “We have had tremendous success with our Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Program,” says CRCHC Executive Director Marty Crapper. “Traditionally, this has been an in-person, ten-week program. We asked our instructor, Sandy Prentice, and John Pringle of Westport Video, to come up with ideas on how we could take the core elements and present ......
Poetry Reading and Discussion - theHumm March 2021
On Friday, March 26 at 7pm, the Carleton Place Library will present Park Ex Girl: Life with Gasometer — a poetry reading and discussion via Facebook with Claudia Coutu Radmore.
Here is Claudia’s twentieth-century life in Montreal’s Park Extension, characteristic of how suburbs grow. Looming over her on Beaumont Street is a seventeen-storey gasometer that casts a spell over her early life. Her poems include depictions of how gas-powered electric lighting snaked ......
MERA Spring Speaker Series - theHumm March 2021
Brighten up your early spring by Zooming in for an exciting series of talks presented by MERA. Taking place on Thursday evenings from 7–8:30pm, the topics include art in the community, hiking, writing, and Lanark wild places. Organizers have tried to plan something for everyone!
The series of four talks starts on March 11 and runs until April 1. Admission is by donation to MERA by sending an e-transfer to firstname.lastname@example.org .......
Self-Compassion - theHumm March 2021
By Glenda Jones
I saw this on a sign last week: “Be kind, Practice self-compassion”.
Well now, that sounds like a regimen I can adopt pretty easily, ridding myself of guilt and angst all in one step. Someone is giving us permission to indulge in inner pleasures. Don’t go crazy languishing on the couch with chocolates and pulp novels, or become a hermit watching old movies and eating popcorn. You still have to keep up some modicum of decent appearance and health. However, a teensy bit of self-indulgence w......
Fueled by Plants - theHumm March 2021
By Jaaron Hamilton
During a time when it’s difficult to go out, many people are looking inward to find inspiration and motivation to eat and create good food. Fueled by Plants author Stéfany Oliver has used the pandemic to harness her passion and put together her first recipe book, with the goal of bringing health and happiness to her community.
Fueled by Plants is a collection of Oliver’s own vegan and gluten-free recipes, featuring local foods from throughout the Ottawa Valley and Ottawa area. ......
An Ode to the Maple Tree - theHumm March 2021
By Ray Fortune, Fortune Farms Maple Sugar Bush
Have you hugged a maple tree today? I know not everyone can do this, but it’s the thought that counts. And here’s why…
We are so fortunate at Fortune Farms fortunefarms.ca to have two majestic sugar bushes, both of which have been tapped for well over one hundred years. The picture shows one of our largest trees, which we have named the Fortune Giant. We have others larger but not as close to a trail. Sadly, we lost several of our large......
The Mississippi Valley Textile Museum mvtm.ca and Ryan Gordon Photography ryangordonphotography.com have partnered to create a timely exhibit of photographs entitled “Faces & Fabric of a Small Town During Pandemic”. Curator Michael Rikley-Lancaster and artist Ryan Gordon write: “As the community grapples with a pandemic that is radically reshaping every aspect of public and......
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