Countdown joins the menstruation conversation

  • News
  • July 26, 2018
  • Courtney Devereux & Georgina Harris
Countdown joins the menstruation conversation

Countdown has shown support towards people required to buy sanitary products by reducing the price of its own Homebrand and Select ranges.

The move will make products more affordable, aiming to reduce period poverty as some women and girls struggle to afford unnecessarily highly priced sanitary items.

It is a real need in New Zealand to have lower prices tampons and pads available to the people that need them. Countdown’s general manager of corporate affairs, Kiri Hannifin, said at Parliament that all women will benefit from these lower prices.

“Period poverty is a worldwide phenomenon and a reality here in New Zealand.  Too many women go without sanitary products themselves, so they can provide essentials like food and rent for their family, or for some families it’s simply something they can’t stretch their budgets to afford for their children.

 “Sanitary products are a necessity for all women, no matter who you are or where you come from. The fact that not all women and girls can access them is something Countdown felt we wanted to help address by making good quality products more affordable for all women,” says Hannifin.

Socks, torn sheets and cloths have all been used as make-shift protection, according to MP for Manurewa, Louisa Wall.

“Period poverty limits opportunities for current and future generations of Kiwi women, and the impact is much greater than missing a few days of school or not participating in sport or other social activities every month,” says Wall.

Make-shift measures can lead to increased risk of infection, or because of stigma and embarrassment, it has also led to young people not attending school at all.

Countdown’s move to lower the price of Homebrand and Select tampons and pads is expected to save customers $750,000 a year.

In addition to the changes to its own brand range, Countdown is now retailing menstrual cups at 80 percent of stores nationwide.

Menstrual cups are growing in popularity as the reusable option saves money and how many products are sent to landfill, which can ta.

Talking to Idealog, menstrual cup company Hello Cup, run by duo Robyn McLean and Mary Bond, says the reusable aspect makes up for a higher price point.

“You hear stories of girls not going to school during their periods because their parents can’t afford pads and tampons,” says McLean. “We should be encouraging schools or the Government or philanthropic groups and trust to supply menstrual cups as well as other sanitary products. In terms of waste, the environment and saving money you could buy a girl one cup and it would last her entire schooling.”

The two have also set up the Hello Cup education programme which involves going into high schools to chat about menstrual cups. It has visited schools in Wellington, Hawkes Bay, and Blenheim, with the intention to go to Auckland once back from New York, or “wherever they are invited to speak,” says McLean.

“The current teenagers are so into the environment and doing good and so conscious about what they’re putting into their bodies.”

She says there needs to be more regulation around period education in schools.

“Basically, it’s up to schools to get someone in. There’s no set curriculum, a lot of the tutors who speak about it don’t even know menstrual cups exist so they’re not talking about them. It’s getting schools to encourage awareness.”

The Hello Cup retails for $49, branded pads and tampons retail for $5-$10, respectively. Countdowns new price lock downs brings own branded pads and tampons to $2-$5, respectively.

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