Lack of access to menstrual supplies making northern Sask. girls miss school, says MP

Girls in northern Saskatchewan are missing school because they don't have the money to buy menstrual supplies, according to the local MP.

Regina foundation raising money to donate menstrual cups

Desnethé-Missinippi-Churchill River MP Georgina Jolibois says girls in La Loche, Sask., are missing school because they can't afford to buy menstrual supplies. (The Associated Press)

Girls in northern Saskatchewan are missing school because they don't have the money to buy menstrual supplies, according to the local MP.

Desnethé-Missinippi-Churchill River MP Georgina Jolibois, based in La Loche, is supporting a new Saskatchewan foundation that is raising money to provide menstrual cups to teenagers in northern communities.

Jolibois told CBC Radio's Morning Edition that she knew of young women who had to quietly ask for money to pay for the sanitary items.

"It is very expensive, not to only buy the tampons or the pads, but also [treatment] for their cramps," she said.

"They might not have the money to buy Midol or other pain-relief medication, so they stay home."

Foundation raising money for supplies

Regina dentist Sandi Beug started the Your Time Women's Empowerment Foundation to raise money to buy menstrual cups.

The group, comprising Beug, Lisa Peters and Lois Vanderhooft, was originally going to purchase the cups for impoverished young people in Colombia with another Saskatchewan-based program called Life by Life.  ​

When they heard the same problem was affecting young women in their own province, they decided to expand the project.

Helping more young women

Beug said the group was inspired by Hillary Clinton after the 2016 U.S. election.

"If Hillary Clinton could give that concession speech with such grace and dignity, we can do anything," she said.

She added the group is working with a Canadian menstrual cup manufacturer called DivaCup, and talking to Street Culture in Regina about the possibility of expanding the program even further.

Jolibois said programming for women in northern Saskatchewan is lacking overall.  

"Certainly we — the leadership, the community, First Nations at all levels — need to do a lot more to promote girls' programs and activities."

With files from CBC Radio's Morning Edition