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First-of-its-kind forum in New West to discuss period poverty solutions

Douglas College in New Westminster will host to an inaugural two-day symposium by United Way BC, Oct. 20 and 21.
United Way BC is inviting the public to be part of the first-ever BC Menstrual Equity Symposium, taking place in New Westminster on Oct. 20 and 21.

B.C.'s first-ever forum on ensuring accessibility to products for those that menstruate will be held in New Westminster next week.

Local residents are being invited to explore ideas and solutions to ending period poverty at the BC Menstrual Equity Symposium at Douglas College's New West campus.

The two-day event, according to a release, is set to highlight ongoing advocacy of provincial organizations, frontline workers and activists.

United Way BC adds attendees will also hear testimonies from those who've experienced period poverty firsthand.

"It will be a space to develop and support advocacy strategies, share initiatives that the government and private sector can adopt, and learn community-based and culturally aware approaches to destigmatize menstruation."

Another focus of the symposium will be innovative ways to get menstrual products to people and communities that "need them most," the event's description reads.

"Supplies should be accessible in a practical, reliable, and culturally appropriate way, supported by the appropriate education and resources for all genders."

In April 2022, Douglas College installed free menstrual product dispensers across 50 male, female and gender-inclusive washrooms at its campuses in New Westminster and Coquitlam.

DC became the second post-secondary institution in B.C., in addition to Thompson Rivers (TRU) in Kamloops, to offer such supplies.

According to research cited by the DC student union, which first proposed the idea, nearly 50 per cent of post-secondary students lost class time because they didn't have the menstrual products they needed.

The BC Menstrual Equity Symposium, funded by B.C.'s ministry of social development and poverty reduction, is scheduled as follows:

  • Oct. 20 = 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Oct. 21 = 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

It'll take place in The Douglas Room at Douglas College's New West campus (700 Royal Ave.) and lunch is included with registration.

For more information, you can visit the forum's page on United Way BC's website.