As the first major retailer in the world to commit to combatting period poverty by offering free sanitary products in stores nationwide, Lidl Ireland has announced that it donated 80,000 units between May and December of 2021.
Lidl noted that it has also donated thousands of sanitary products to the Simon Communities of Ireland, to reach those who may not have access to smartphones, and through its partners at the Ladies’ Gaelic Football Association (LGFA).
The discount retailer explained that period poverty is the lack of access to sanitary products due to financial constraints.
National data regarding consistent poverty rates suggests that approximately 53,000-85,000 women and girls may be at risk of period poverty.
There is significant evidence of period poverty amongst certain high-risk groups, including those experiencing homelessness and/or active addiction.
Claire Hunt, CEO of Homeless Period Ireland, commented, “Lidl’s support for eliminating period poverty in Ireland has created a lightning rod of conversation across the media, political sphere, and indeed across the country.
“Over half of all Irish adults are aware of Lidl’s campaign, which launched last year. This means that one in every two people knows the issues that we face when it comes to accessing period products in Ireland, for those who are struggling,” Hunt added.
The latest research from an omnibus of 1,000 members of the public, undertaken by iReach Insights on behalf of Lidl, shines a light on the challenges associated with period poverty in Ireland, and the public’s interest in ending period poverty.
Speaking about the event, the Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media, Catherine Martin – who previously brought a motion on period poverty in the Dáil in 2019, on behalf of the Women’s Parliamentary Caucus – said, “Period poverty is a real issue for women in Ireland, and it is having a negative impact on their education, well-being, and quality of life, and must be spoken about and addressed in those terms.
“By leading this initiative, Lidl has given us the opportunity to ensure momentum is gathering in the campaign to end period poverty,” Martin added.
JP Scally, CEO of Lidl Ireland and Northern Ireland, noted, “[Some] 65,000 free period products redeemed in seven months is the highest level of redemption for any in-store initiative that Lidl Ireland has ever experienced.
“However, we realise that we all need to go so much further in eliminating period poverty in Ireland. As one of the biggest retailers in the country, we have the scale to support some phenomenal causes and have a real impact on key issues affecting society and the communities we operate in across the island,” Scally said.
“As a strong supporter of women and girls in Ireland, we want to ensure that we play our part in continuing the conversation and removing the stigma around periods and period poverty,” Scally added.
Free Provision Of Period Products Bill 2021
Recent research commissioned by Lidl and carried out by iReach Insights revealed that three in four people in Ireland believe that period products should be free to those experiencing period poverty, whilst 83% of women aged between 18 and 29 believe that these products should be free to all women.
The data revealed that nine in ten Irish women support the Free Provision of Period Products Bill 2021, which aims to secure the general availability of period products, free of charge.
JP Scally noted, “We’re not afraid to back issues, to break stigmas, and to challenge the norm to help build a better workplace, a better environment, and, ultimately, a better society for us all. We are committed to keeping the discussion front and centre as the legislation continues to be debated.”