Shoppers in Ireland will soon be able to access free menstrual products in grocery stores across the country. Lidl, one of Ireland’s largest grocery outlets, has announced a partnership with Homeless Period Ireland and The Simon Communities of Ireland to offer free menstrual products in all its stores.
A recent study found that nearly half of all women between the ages of 12 and 19 in Ireland found it difficult to pay for sanitary products. Under the new policy, shoppers can claim a coupon for a free box of sanitary products each month. The program will officially begin on May 3.
In addition to becoming the first major retailer to offer free sanitary products, Lidl has also committed to quarterly menstrual product donations to The Simon Communities to ensure these products are available for the unsheltered as well. The company will also make free menstrual products available at sports clubs through a partnership with the Ladies Gaelic Football Association. Lidl already provides free menstrual products to all its employees.
Period poverty is a public health issue and affects menstruators’ ability to attend school and work. Last year, Scotland became the first country to offer free menstrual products for all. Claire Hunt, the founder of Homeless Period Ireland, hopes Ireland will follow suit in the near future: “It is my hope that in due course much-anticipated legislation and measures will be implemented and ultimately Homeless Period Ireland and indeed initiatives like this one should no longer have to exist.”