Share The Dignity is an Australian charity that makes an on the ground difference in the lives of homeless women, women experiencing domestic violence or those doing it tough without access to period products.
Share the Dignity collects thousands of reusable pads, menstrual cups, period-proof underwear, tampons and other personal hygiene products and distributes them to those in need. Biome stores are a collection point during the month of March every year to support this mission. However, before we get into what this charity is all about, let's discuss why it's needed.
What is Period Poverty?
Period poverty is the lack of access to sanitary products, menstrual education, toilets, hand-washing facilities and waste facilities. There were reports in Australia that women in vulnerable positions were often forced into choosing between buying food to eat or buying expensive sanitary items. Sadly, around the country, women experiencing homelessness, fleeing domestic violence, and those doing it tough can't afford the sanitary products they need every month. As a result, one in five Australians needs to 'improvise' on period products by using socks or toilet paper. Women and children already dealing with the hardships of homelessness and makeshift homes in shelters also had to clean themselves in public toilets and use paper towels as makeshift sanitary pads. On top of the immense personal discomfort, there is also cultural shame surrounding menstruation when there is a shortage of period resources, resulting in women and young girls avoiding going to school or work. As a result, this lack of access to period resources also has substantial negative implications on mental health and directly impacts opportunities available to menstruating people.
Who is Share the Dignity?
Share the Dignity is a company born in 2015; disheartened by the apparent need for essential sanitary products for vulnerable people who mensturate in our communities, the founders opted to make a difference and be a part of providing for them. The founders deemed this lack of dignity unacceptable, and their desire to help quickly grew them from a grassroots local community initiative to a national charity.
How does Share The Dignity help?
Share The Dignity, partners with 3,000 charities nationally, distributing sanitary items to those in need and working to end period poverty in Australia. Their Dignity Drives, held in March and August each year, is vital to achieving these goals. Since the charity was founded in 2015, more than 3 million period products have been donated to those who desperately need them. Working with over 5,500 volunteers, they have donated over 617,000 essential-filled handbags to Australians who menstruate. This donation provides a basic dignity that every person deserves to experience. Furthermore, this initiative aims to take the stress of worrying about periods off the shoulders of those already overwhelmed.
What is the Pad Up Public Health Campaign?
In public hospitals across Australia, you can access band-aids, bandages, painkillers and but not pads and tampons! While some hospitals have policies to stock period products, Share the Dignity has found this isn't always the case. If somebody is in hospital, it's a pretty plausible guess that they are already uncomfortable, stressed out and vulnerable. So adding to that discomfort by the hospital not providing period resources is not a fair burden on patients. Not everybody has friends or family to call upon to bring these products in for them.
Dignity vending machines
Share The Dignity have another innovative solution to the period poverty situation outlined earlier. They have set up vending machines which dispense free period products within a 'Pink Box' containing six tampons and two pads. This initiative ensures equal access to those who are doing it tough. The vending machines have been installed in public toilets, charity buildings, homeless hubs, domestic violence refuges, community centres, hospitals, Aboriginal Health Services and low socioeconomic schools all around Australia. Since the beginning of this project in December 2016, 265 vending machines have been set up.
Support the Dignity Drive every March at Biome
Biome stores are set up and ready to be collection points for this incredible charity this month. If you have been a long time shopper at Biome, you may already know about this cause and have possibly already donated.
All these menstrual products are welcome to be donated:
Together we can make a difference!