When we look back at 2020 in years to come, there will be certain themes that dominate. But among the doom and gloom, it was actually a year of many firsts in the fight against period stigma. Here are a few of our favourite menstruation moments.
1. Free period prods Since June 2020, girls in New Zealand high schools have not had to pay for sanitary products after the government announced it would foot the bill. Prime minister Jacinda Ardern said sanitary supplies for a monthly period were “not a luxury, but a necessity”, and too many girls were skipping school because they weren’t able to afford them. In July, Melbourne became the first Australian state to announce it would follow suit. And then in November, Scotland took the fight against period poverty to the next level. It is the first country in the world to make period products free for everyone who needs them. Let’s hope it’s the tip of the iceberg.
2. Inclusion rules Women aren’t the only people who menstruate. Yep, thanks to a mis-guided Tweet by author JK Rowling, the world sat up and noticed that non-binary people and some trans men have periods, too. Retailers are now being strongly encouraged to move away from exclusionary (and cringe-worthy) language such as ‘feminine hygiene’. An while we’re considering language around periods, there’s also a growing movement to cull the shame factor and call period products what they are. About time.
3. Advertising wins In September this year, period underwear company Modibodi had its ad banned by Facebook, for violating the policy that states ‘ads must not contain shocking, sensational, inflammatory or excessively violent content’. The campaign, which features small amounts of blood (who’d have thought? Blood in an ad about periods!), failed three ‘human reviews’. But then came the very public backlash. The ad went vira, and Facebook reversed its decision. It’s a start.
4. Tax matters In many countries, tampons and pads are way more expensive than they should be because they’re taxed as luxury items. We know. Luxury. Before 2018, period prods in Aus were hit with a 10 per cent goods and services tax (GST) because they were categorised as ‘non-essential’ items. But under pressure, our government wised up. In 2020 the UK followed suit and took the decision to finally scrap the tax. In the US it’s also slowly happening, one state at a time.
5. Juuni launch Yes, in what was possibly 2020’s most momentous news, a little start-up company called Juuni came knocking at the door of Period Prod HQ, offering 100 per cent organic cotton tampons, pads and liners delivered to your door, with free shipping and bonus gifts. It’s one piece of good news we hope you’re happy to share!