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Periods are everywhere, and do not stop at school or work. 

September 11, 2023 . joelle

Why adding period products to their bathrooms is an important step. 

Do you have free access to period products at your school or workplace? Ten years ago, the answer would most likely have been no. Luckily times are changing, more people are talking, writing about and lobbying for period problems and doing research on periods and how they affect lives. We see changes in the VAT levels of period products, in the acknowledgement of the impact of period poverty and the government budget becoming available to address this. And significantly, in the legislation being passed globally to ensure that period products are made freely available in schools and other public spaces. In 2020 Scotland was the first to make this change, with New Zealand, Kenya and the UK following suit.  

While other countries still await legal changes, more and more schools and workplaces are taking action, adding free period products to their usual bathroom supplies. At Yoni we are in full support of this change and, based on recent Dutch research, want to share why providing free period products in bathrooms is an important step for schools and workplaces to take:  

  1. It creates a safer, more inclusive environment. Research shows that having period products available in bathrooms at work1 and at schools2 kickstarts conversations about menstrual health and helps people articulate their needs and challenges. In this way, it boosts (young) people’s confidence and helps to break the taboo around menstruation.  
  1. It helps to reduce period-related absences: Having period products available avoids people missing school or work4 and helps to avoid people worrying or feeling uncomfortable about how to deal with their period if it catches them by surprise, reducing their actual presence at work or school. Research done by Plan Nederland shows that 40% of young people menstruating between the ages of 12 and 25 years have missed school or work because of their period.  
  1. It helps in the fight against period poverty: Here in The Netherlands 1 in 10 young people menstruating (12 – 25 years) doesn’t have enough money to buy period products. And 1 in 10 menstruating people living in poverty do not have the money to buy (sufficient) period products.4  

There are 2 ways institutions can provide free period products:  

  1. Products should be readily available in bathrooms at school and work, so anyone in need of a pad or a tampon can access one. Open boxes of products can be placed in bathrooms, or dispensers can be provided, offering a clutter-free solution.  
  1. For people unable to afford period products, it’s important that boxes of products are made readily available. It should be known where people can find these products and it should be somewhere they feel comfortable doing so. In the Netherlands, the Poverty Foundation does a great job in providing free products at schools, neighborhood centers, etc. and advises on how to actually make these products accessible to those in need.  

Change is happening (it’s about bloody time) 

We believe in accessible chemical free period care for everyone. We are proud to say that Yoni has partnered with multiple companies to provide free period products in their workplace. We have also partnered with a number of schools and universities across the Netherlands to supply their campuses with our products. This year we added our period products to 500 student boxes, so that students could access chemical free period care more easily. If you are interested in partnering with us to get Yoni products available at your school or office then contact us via rosa@yoni.care

Sadly not every school or workplace is there yet when it comes to accessible period products. Until they get there, we’re here to pick up the slack.

1 Based on research done in the Netherlands in 2022 commissioned by the Share-Net: “Menstrual Health in the Dutch Workplace Report.

2 Based on research done on young people menstruating in the Netherlands between the ages of 12 -25 by Plan International published in June 2019, Schaamte bij menstruatie: approx. 50% of young people menstruating between the ages of 12 and 15 years and 25% between 15 and 25 years old are uncomfortable talking about periods. At schools where period products are available, periods are more talked about, helping to break the taboo.   

3Based on research done in the Netherlands in 2019: “Productivity loss due to menstruation- related symptoms: a nationwide cross- sectional survey among 32 748 women” .

4 Based on research done by the Poverty Foundation in the Netherlands.

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