National Period Hui Addresses All Types of Period Poverty
32 academics, nurses, activists, product makers, volunteers, community groups and associations came together in Auckland’s Ellen Melville Centre to share knowledge and first-hand accounts of growing period poverty in Aotearoa, on Saturday 2 November, at the inaugural Aotearoa Period Hui, brought together by The Period Place.
The Period Place, is the first charity of its kind in New Zealand working with industry leading players, governments, researchers, product makers, innovators and social enterprises, down to the individuals who menstruate.
“That is how we know we need a collective
industry approach - one that is nothing short of
revolutionary” says Danika Revell, co-founder of The
“The public discourse around periods has been getting louder internationally, and now the time has come for Aotearoa to be heard, collectively. Through The Period Place, we are gathering public voices with industry hands, and starting systems-level change, just by the nature of this very hui.”
The hui formally recognised and expanded on the common term ‘period poverty’, by acknowledging period poverty is not just financial poverty; it’s also poverty of knowledge, confidence, sustainability, and access.
Dr Sarah Donovan, PhD, BMid, Department of Public Health, Otago, acknowledged 94,788 school-aged menstruators are at risk of missing out on school due to poverty of access and financial hardship. “There is no data to know exactly how many actually are already missing school - this is the big data gap we need to address” she said.
“That figure took our collective breath away in the room” says Danika. “But it’s just the start. For every person who can afford period products, they are still affected by stigma, shame, lack of education and sustainability options.”
The hui recognised accessible language, cost, public health research, environmental impacts, menstrual cycle recognition in schools and workplaces, cultural elements, and the impact the medical community and policy change makers can have as the defining issues within the current period discourse.
“We have cleared the ground for a robust framework to be built, led by the mahi achieved by all hui attendees,” says Sarah Mikkelsen, co-founder of The Period Place. “We now have a blueprint of the issues that will inform the radical change this complex problem needs.
How exciting it is to be a part of a wider industry that is impassioned and committed to not only be a part of that radical change, but to be designing it and implementing it too.”
Attendees signed a collective pledge on the day, committing to working together to solve the key problems addressed at the hui, to share knowledge and to enhance each others kaupapa, through collective action and systems change, and thereby empower individuals to experience periods in ways that are meaningful to them.
The Period Place invites people within the wide reach of the period industry to continue to be furthering this change by contacting them.