Monthly Dignity is a not-for-profit organization that exists because we believe that adequate access to menstrual hygiene products should be a right, not a privilege.
Menstruation is a biological phenomenon that affects half of the world’s population, yet it remains unreasonably taboo. Avoidance of the topic brings about stigma, shame and unequal opportunities for menstruators worldwide - a form of sex-based discrimination. Not surprisingly, the political and discursive void that surrounds menstruation disproportionately impacts individuals living in precarious situations and homelessness. These people, who are marginalized at baseline, experience period poverty: they are unable to afford adequate menstrual hygiene products. Monthly, they face the dilemma of buying a meal versus a box of pads or tampons - an impossible dilemma that impacts both their physical and mental well-being.
In fact, menstruation is described by homeless individuals as one of the most strenuous challenges they face.
According to the Montreal Homeless Count, there are over 720 homeless women in Montreal, and many more live under the poverty line. While the UN General Assembly declared sanitation to be a basic human right in 2010, there exists no official policy addressing citizens’ lack of access to menstrual hygiene products in Montreal.
Monthly Dignity was born in November 2017, because access to adequate menstrual hygiene products should be a right, not a privilege.
Our first objective is to distribute menstrual hygiene products to individuals who cannot afford them. Monthly Dignity maximizes its financial and environmental sustainability through a tripartite collaborative model with menstrual hygiene producers (FEMPRO & OrganiCup), Moisson Montreal (for storage and deliveries) and Montreal women’s shelters and day-centers (for distribution). FEMPRO offers us products in perfect condition (but with outdated packaging aesthetics) that were previously wasted and OrganiCup creates reusable menstrual cups that can last for up to three years. Simply put, we facilitate dialogue between organizations and companies that should logically work together, but do not have the time to do so. As a result, we have been able to provide 60,000 menstrual hygiene products to individuals who could not have afforded them by their own means.
In addition, Monthly Dignity has a more discursive goal: we seek to destigmatize the issues homelessness and menstruation and their juxtaposition, via the use of social media, educational resources, informative events and discussions.