Lidl is set to become the first major retailer in the world to offer free period products in stores nationwide.
The free period products will be provided to people who are affected by period poverty in partnership with Homeless Period Irelan and The Simon Communities of Ireland.
Customers will be able to claim a dedicated coupon for a free box of sanitary pads or tampons per customer each month with the Lidl Plus app.
— Taryn de Vere (@TarynDeVere) April 19, 2021
Starting today, those who would like to register for the Period Product Support Programme can do so here. Those registered will then receive a free monthly coupon from May 3.
Lidl is also committing to quarterly donations of period products to The Simon Communities to ensure that people with no access to a smartphone can access the products.
In February, the Department of Health and the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth jointly launched a report which estimates that 85,000 individuals across Ireland may be at risk of period poverty.
Period poverty refers to having inadequate access to menstrual hygiene including sanitary towels and tampons, washing and waste management facilities, and education.
“Most women and girls will have 12-13 periods per year with some using up to 22 tampons and/or towels per cycle. Overall annual costs of period products for individual women, including pain relief, can be estimated at a minimum of €121,” finds the report.
The report recommends that the government work with other countries in the EU to remove VAT on all sanitary products including menstrual cups and period-proof underwear where in Ireland the standard rate of 23% still applies.
The report acknowledges the potential adverse consequences of period poverty which can include exclusion from activities of daily living during menstruation and physical and mental impacts from both exclusion and the use of unsuitable period products.
It sets out a number of recommendations regarding strengthening the evidence base, addressing the stigma associated with periods, engaging with vulnerable groups and the voluntary sector organisations that support them, considering the provision of free period products on the grounds of gender equity, and developing a systems approach and co-ordinated funding mechanisms across Government to progress cross-sectoral mitigation of period poverty.
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