Monthly Dignity 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. Unsurprisingly, the political and discursive void that surrounds menstruation disproportionately impacts individuals living in precarious situations and homelessness.
Therefore, marginalized people face period poverty: they do not have the financial means to procure adequate menstrual hygiene products. Every month, they are confronted with the impossible dilemma between menstrual security and their other essential needs, such as food and shelter.
Without suitable menstrual hygiene products, a person is forced to improvise, leading to the use of unsanitary alternatives, putting both their mental and physical health at risk. Thus, people living in precarious situations describe periods as one of the primary, and most burdensome, obstacles they face.
In fact, menstruation is one of the most strenuous challenges that homeless individuals face.
According to the Montreal Homeless Count, there are over 720 homeless women in Montreal, and many more living 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 is a not-for-profit organization that 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FEMPRO offers us products in perfect condition (but with outdated packaging aesthetics) that were previously wasted and OrganiCup creates reusable menstrual cups that can last for up to three years.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.
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.