Share the Dignity Founder, Rochelle Courtenay, left, with Woolworths managing director Claire Peters. (Photo: Dallas Kilponen/PPR)

Huge boost to ‘period poverty’ fight

Woolworths is partnering with the charity Share The Dignity to help women and girls affected by  “period poverty” – the lack of access to sanitary items that affects thousands of Australian women and girls.

The supermarket giant will donate five cents from every packet of sanitary items sold nation-wide, including pads, tampons, liners and period briefs. Share the Dignity’s founder, Rochelle Courtenay, says will “massively impact” on the charity’s ability to help women in need. It is estimated that 52 per cent of Australians living below the poverty line are women and girls.

“Five cents from every packet of pads and tampons that are bought in Woolworth stores will come to us,” Ms Courtenay said.

“So, while only five cents looks like a small amount, they sell millions and millions of packets of pads and tampons.

“Every small amount adds up to a big amount to be able to make sure that we can ensure no girl misses school, ensure that no women is having to use socks and wadded up toilet paper. It will ensure that our farming women have access to sanitary items and our indigenous communities have the ability to be able to deal with their period with dignity.”

The funds will help supply and maintain the world-first Pink Box Vending Machines, which supply free period products to women and girls. Since founding Share The Dignity in 2015, Ms Courtenay and her team have installed 100 of the machines, a number expected to double by the end of 2019 with the support of Woolworths.

Share the Dignity runs different charity events throughout the year, including It’s In The Bag – in which people donate items to be included in Christmas hampers which are donated across Australia.

Ms Courtenay started the charity back in 2015 when she discovered the depth of the homelessness problem for women.

“Hearing the real stories of what they have to do to survive, every single story places a little foot print in my heart,” she says.

“We do what we do because we need to do it.”