Group wants to lower the cost of tampons, sanitary pads for northern women
“We want to create more than just a product—we want to create an experience that makes getting your period healthy, empowering, and normal”
A group of women based in Montreal called “Flo Collective” wants to lower the cost of feminine hygiene products in Nunavut and other northern regions.
They say they want to end the inequity faced by women and girls in northern Canada, where tampons can cost $1 each and are not covered by freight subsidies under the Nutrition North program.
Their Flo Collective aims to ensure that women and girls in northern communities who menstruate are not economically or socially disadvantaged.
“As a result of trying to access the expensive, limited menstrual products, these communities often face challenges such as not being able to attend school, practise sports, or work while having their period,” states a project description shared with Nunatsiaq News by Grace Sarah Ross, who is working on the project with Anisha Samat, Breanne Lavallee-Heckert, Elizabeth Lougheed and Nathalie LaFlamme.
Their aim is to offer a customizable subscription service to provide “an enjoyable, easy, affordable, positive, and convenient way for our members to meet their needs in menstrual care, while improving access to menstrual products in communities in the Canadian North,” says the project description.
The way it will work is simple: members of the Flo Collective will be able to select their favourite menstrual products as needed, including eco-friendly and waste-free alternatives.
A standard box will also include items such as chocolate, tea, acne treatments, and other self-care and feminine hygiene products.
The team behind the Flo Collection plan to source these items by building strategic partnerships with suppliers and sponsors to get the best deals and maintain quality.
“As one of our target issues is the taboo surrounding menstruation, we want to ensure that our business is community-powered. We want to create more than just a product—we want to create an experience that makes getting your period healthy, empowering, and normal,” Ross and the others said.
The project also involves the creation of a virtual space using Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram, so that women and girls who menstruate “feel that they are all in this together—that they are part of a collective.”
The team plans to start providing the subscription boxes in Montreal, using the majority of profits from the sale of boxes to subsidize menstrual products in remote Indigenous communities.
Ross said they have entered a social entrepreneurship competition through McGill University and are hopeful that this will lead to some start-up money to make the project happen.
The idea began as a project for their sustainable development class in law school, said Ross, who has visited Nunavut on two occasions, including two months spent in Iqaluit.
“One of our group member’s had previously worked on a documentary about menstrual products, and another member volunteers with Plan International, so I think we were set on a project that had to do with women’s rights and menstruation,” she said.
If you want to share your thoughts or experiences you can contact email@example.com or go to The Flo Collective on Facebook.