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Dublin City Council has allocated €100,000 for free period products in their 2020 budget.

Period products will be made available in all council buildings, including libraries, swimming pools and community centres.

Labour councillor Rebecca Moynihan proposed the initiative.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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“With over 50% of young women and girls struggling to afford products; homeless women not being able to afford or indeed access sanitary products regularly and women in direct provision having to fight to get adequate products, it is so important that this initiative has received cross-party from councillors on Dublin City Council,” she stated.

“If the Government were serious about eradicating period poverty they could take two serious actions in the next budget. Firstly, they could introduce free sanitary products in schools. It is a scandal that young girls are missing school because they cannot afford sanitary products. 

“Secondly, the Government should examine the VAT on sanitary products that aren’t pads and tampons. Having a broad choice of products available at a lower price point benefits all women.

“Periods are not a luxury for women and girls. It is a part of everyday life and we need to make life easier for those who may be vulnerable positions,” she stressed.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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You can join the fight against period poverty by donating period products to Homeless Period Ireland.

They have numerous drop-off points across the city, such as:  Tropical Popical, Waxperts, UCD, UL, IADT, Bella Baby, National Maternity Hospital.  An up-to-date list of drop off points can be found on their Facebook and Twitter pages.

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The Homeless Period Dublin initiative was born in December 2016. Their goal is to help women and girls who found themselves unable access to basic sanitation and female hygiene products every month.

Claire Hunt took over the general management of the Homeless Period Dublin initiative in 2017. A social media campaign was launched to highlight this issue; through this campaign it became apparent that this was a national issue. Emanating from this campaign, a decision was made to rebrand the initiative to Homeless Period Ireland (HPI). 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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This rebranding would help create awareness nationally and more importantly, increase the number of drop off points (places where the general public donate female sanitary and hygiene products) and more importantly, increase reach nationally to front line services who have direct access to the women in need.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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The aim of the Homeless Period Ireland is to donate feminine hygiene products (pads, tampons, liners, wipes) to those who otherwise would go without. The donations are brought by volunteer drivers to Homeless Outreach Centres, Direct Provision Centres and Women’s Refuges. The HPI is an initiative, not a charity and is 100 percent reliant on volunteers for distribution and collection of sanitary products.

The core objectives of the Homeless Period Ireland include:

  • breaking the stigma surrounding menstruation

  • educating people on the basic hygiene needs of women

  • educating people that periods are a monthly expense

  • encouraging people to purchase sanitary products and gift them through various pre-arranged donation points

  • ensuring that every woman in Ireland has access to sanitary products.

The Homeless Period Ireland has numerous drop-off points, such as:  

Tropical Popical, Waxperts, UCD, UL, IADT, Bella Baby, National Maternity Hospital.  An up-to-date list of drop off points can be found on their Facebook and Twitter pages. 

We would love to see more nationwide drop off points and anyone who can set one up in a shop, or business etc can drop an email to thehomelessperioddublin@gmail.com

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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The Homeless Period Ireland hopes to educate people about period poverty and the “silent struggle” of many women living in Ireland, but it’s just the tip of the iceberg.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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HPI want the government to take action as Scotland did this year with the introduction of a scheme that gives free sanitary products to women in need.

On March 13, 2017, for the first time in history, an all female cross party motion on period poverty was passed in the Dail. This included a call for free period products in public buildings and most importantly improving education and working to normalise periods. 

This is a step in the right direction but the work of Homeless Period Ireland will still continue as many people in need will still experience period poverty. Young carers, women and girls in Direct Provision, homeless women, low income women reliant on food banks. They will continue to feel the stress and discomfort that is endured when having a period in difficult circumstances. 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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“When we all have access to period products only then will we end period poverty” 

“Periods happen every month and unless you are experiencing it, it’s not at the forefront of people’s minds” 

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We’ve all been there. Wide awake at four in the morning, curled up with a hot water bottle, cursing the fact you were born with a womb. 

Period cramps are sh*t. 

But what if we told you there was a simple and natural way to relieve those dreaded symptoms?

Well, yoga may be the answer.

That’s according to a review of studies published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine.

Findings from 15 studies that examined the effect regular yoga practice had on a woman’s menstrual cycle, were reviewed.

These studies looked at how the exercise affects period cramps, PMS, polycystic ovary syndrome and premenstrual dysphoric disorder.

Each of the studies found a link between regular yoga practice and reduced severity of symptoms in woman who suffer from the conditions.

Some women even reported reductions in bloating and breast tenderness along with a more regular cycle – what’s not to love about that?

Unlike painkillers, yoga can relieve both the physical and mental symptoms of menstrual disorders, making it the ideal natural remedy for women who suffer every month.

Further research is needed to determine which type and exactly how much yoga is best for your menstrual health, but with these results, it’s got to be worth a try. 

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Minister for Health Simon Harris is aiming to remove VAT from condoms and menstrual cups, and we want to squeeze him with hugs for life.

Harris called for a review of Ireland's tax approach on menstrual products and the barrier contraceptive ahead of last year's Budget, but no changes were carried out.

His position appears to be the same this year, and he'll be asking for VAT on these goods to be scrapped in October's Budget.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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The reduced rate of VAT of 13.5 percent applies to condoms at the moment, but the minister hopes to remove it entirely according to The Journal.

The Irish Pharmacy Union has also called for condoms to be VAT-free, with a pack of 12 condoms currently pricing at between €13 and €20.

Contraceptive gels for use with the barrier method also have a 13.5 percent rate applied. The oral contraceptive pill, the implant and injection currently have 0% VAT.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Harris wrote to Finance Minister Paschal Donohue about the work to reduce crisis pregnancies, saying that the VAT rates;

“Runs contrary to our work for people to practice safer sex and avoid crisis pregnancies and STIs”.

The letter  was released under the Freedom of Information Act, and states that the aim of the Sexual Health Strategy is to “improve sexual health and well being and to reduce negative sexual health outcomes”.

Harris writes in the letter that the cost of condoms could stop people buying them. 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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The importance of using condoms is also to protect against STIs, including HIV, as well as contraception.

While he pointed out that consumer expenditure is widely subject to VAT, Harris claimed that “there is a strong case for excluding non-oral contraception from this tax”.

"Such a tax may inevitably discourage people from purchasing non-oral contraception due to cost concerns. This runs contrary to our work for people to practise safer sex and avoid crisis pregnancies and STIs. Both of these outcomes have a negative impact on the people concerned and their immediate family."

The health service loses out in the long run if STI rates are high, due to the cost "involved in treating people who contract HIV".

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Harris has also called for the VAT rate on sanitary products to be reduced to 0% also, such as the VAT rate of 23 percent on menstrual cups.

“The issue that now needs attention is the position with newer products. Newer products (e.g. menstrual cups) that were not available at the time of these agreements are subject to the standard rate of VAT 23 percent.

“There is a cogent argument for removing VAT on these and any newer sanitary products and aligning them with the zero-percent VAT rate applicable to tampons and sanitary towels,” he said.

The minister currently is attempting to overhaul the cost and availability of contraception in Ireland.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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The government announced that it hopes to increase free contraception nationwide, and Harris plans to reduce the cost of the morning after pill.

Last Monday, Harris announced that condoms would be distributed across third level colleges this year.

A public consultation is currently underway on how to increase access to contraception in the hopes to reduce abortion rates, STIs spreading and crisis pregnancies.

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If, like thousands of women across the world, you recently invested in a menstrual cup, you'll know just how life-changing they can be.

Not only will the product do wonders for but bank account in the long-run, but you'll suffer less irritation due to the absence of toxins and chemicals and even help the environment by reducing waste.

And as if that wasn't enough to convince you to make the switch, Intimina have just launched the first menstrual cup that can be worn during penetrative sex.

Unlike a traditional tampon or menstrual cup, the Ziggy Cup sits just below the cervix after insertion, meaning those who wear it can enjoy mess-free sex all month long.

Featuring a leak-proof double rim and hexagonal texture, the cup is made from 100 per cent medical grade silicone and promises 12 hours of non-stop protection.

What's more, Intimina say the one size fits all product is so comfortable that it can't be felt at all, and while we're sure insertion may take some practice, we'd be willing to put in the practice for the complete freedom it offers.

It's priced at just €39.95, which is and absolute steal when you consider it lasts for two years.

Convenient, reusable and sex-friendly, what more could you want?

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Today, March 8, marks the 109th International Women's Day, and to coincide with commemoration for the movement of women's rights, period care brand Freda are advocating for the free provision of essential female hygiene products in the workplace.

In an age when on-site gyms, beer on tap and dedicated nap zones are enjoyed by employees of some of the world's biggest companies, it's a wonder why so many are failing to cater for the most basic needs of their female staff.

Pads, tampons amd menstrual cups are vital part of women's daily routines and are essential for full participation in day-to-day activities.

Research show that 86 per cent of women have experienced an unexpected period, leaving them stressed, anxious and embarrassed when they do not have an emergency stash of period products on hand.

“Societal taboos and stigma have meant that the menstrual needs of women have so far been overlooked. In 2018, period products should be regarded as an essential, and budgeted for accordingly – after all, we’re not expected to carry around our own toilet paper, or buy it from vending machines. Tampon smuggling has to stop!”, says Freda founder Affi Parvizi-Wayne

“Once you start thinking about it, it becomes a no-brainer, and it’s encouraging that progressive companies like Google and Spotify are beginning to take women’s needs into account. This small step sends a big message to employees”, adds Parvizi-Wayne.

With its Period Manifesto, Freda hope to encourage an open and honest discussion around periods and the needs of women, removing any stigma and normalising menstruation.

They advocate that:

  • Period products are an essential not a luxury

  • Periods are a sign of health

  • Periods are normal, not shameful

  • Periods are private, not secret

  • Transparency of ingredients for such an intimate product

  • Period products should be sustainable and responsible

With 2 billion women and girls menstruating monthly, it's astonishing that many still feel shamed and embarrassed by the natural occurrence.

By opening the conversation at work and at schools and by making period products freely and readily available to all, we can change old attitudes and break taboos once and for all.

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Let's face it, women, who don't find themselves craving the sweeter things in life during their period, are few and far between.

And while the instant gratification is much sought-after, the results of a chocolate binge can leave many of us feeling sluggish and regretful.

This is where Moon Cycle Bakery comes in.

 

At Moon Cycle Bakery, we have all the feelings for the people who have collaborated with us to make our treats and this business possible. Everything from the ingredients to the added adaptogens to the taste testing — if it weren’t for our leading ladies, we wouldn’t have any delicious sweets to send your way. This week, we want to highlight the brand Root + Bones run by the seriously loving soul, Alyssa Melody. Root + Bones is the company that helps give you a sense of calm, an added boost in libido and an overall invigorated feeling through their adaptogens. Adaptogens work as a thermostat, helping keep your body in homeostasis during stressful life situations aka our cycles and add degrees of health to any meal we add them to. To learn more about Root + Bones, their message, the amazing recipe library and fall in love with Alyssa like we have, head to www.rootandbones.com.@rootandbones

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This US-based baked goods delivery service seeks to provide women with a selection of confectionery which not only satisfies their sweet tooth, but benefits them both internally and externally.

Explaining their mission, they say: "Once a month, we deliver delicious treats that that not only taste good – but hug your body with carefully selected, hormone-supportive ingredients designed to nourish you from the inside out."

"We establish this in Moon Cycle by making sure every treat is chock full of high energy, hormone-balancing, healthy ingredients. Our treats will not only meet you with love and warmth, but they will leave you (and your body) full of vitality and goodness."

"We are always on the hunt for the freshest ingredients and highest quality brand names," reads the website. "You can rest assured that every treat you receive has been baked with wholesome, high quality ingredients (and a little moon dust for good measure.)"

From Matcha Coconut Bites to Raspberry Black Bean Brownies, Moon Cycle Bakery are determined for women to treat themselves during the roughest week of the month, without compromising their health.

"We believe in self-care, so who would we be if we sent treats that were only going to hurt our bodies every month instead of replenish them?" they ask.

Where do we sign?

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We don't know about you, but when it's our time of the month, we feel like we deserve a little bit of special treatment.

So imagine our delight when we heard that one bar (based in Tel Aviv unfortunately) was doing just that for women on their periods?

Drum roll please… introducing Bloody Hour, a concept from Anna LouLou bar which sees women availing of discounted drinks at that time of the month. 

'25pc discount on the entire bar, for the entire night on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays,' reads the description. 

And before anyone asks how the bar staff would know someone was on their period or not, let us stop you right there. 

The entire system is based on trust – if you say it's that time of the month, the staff believe you.

As if our five million hormonal zits and bloated tummy wouldn't give the game away anyway. 

'We want women to say, "Hey, I’m on my period," and for it to have a deeper and broader resonance, for it to be legitimate for women to talk about it,' owner Moran Barir told Haaretz.

Think any Irish bars would roll out this concept over here? 

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While some researchers believe that Instagram is a vortex of low self-esteem, other's are using it for body positivity.

A 21-year-old artist named Cinta Tort Cartró is the latest to make waves on the social media site, as she is turning period problems into works of art.

As well as that, she uses her account, @zinteta, to show case body 'flaws' in a different and beautiful way.

We absolutely adore her vivid and imaginative images, so we picked out a few of our favourites:

 

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Scotland has become the first country in the world to provide women who are on a low income access to free sanitary care products.

A pilot programme run by poverty prevention and social enterprise charity Community Food Initiatives North East (CFINE) has been launched today and will run for six months.

The initiative will be run in several low-income areas across Aberdeen and pads and tampons will be distributed to three secondary schools and the North East Further Education College, as well as a range of organisations such as the Cyrenians, Women’s Aid and HomeStart, according to The Scotsman.

In the past, teaching unions such as the Educational Institute of Scotland had expressed concerns about students missing school and college due to “period poverty”, i.e. not having enough money to cover the cost of sanitary hygiene products.

The phenomenon of “period poverty” is generally associated with third-world countries where young girls have no access to sanitary hygiene products. However, CFINE says it also happens in developed nations like the UK.

CFINE’s chief executive Dave Simmers said “period poverty” was a concern for many women who sought help from CFINE.

“We’ve been aware of this problem for many years after hearing about difficulties from women at our food banks,” he explained.

It’s hoped the programme could be rolled out to cover a wider area should it be successful.

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Equalities Secretary Angela Constance from the SNP who officially launched the scheme tweeted: “Thanks to @CFINEAberdeen for leading this very important pilot project that will inform the next steps in tackling period poverty.”

Meanwhile, Monica Lennon, Labour’s inequalities spokeswoman who has campaigned about period poverty for several years expressed her delight at the launch of the scheme.

“A positive first step by @AConstanceSNP and @scotgov to combat #periodpoverty in Scotland,” she tweeted earlier today.

It’s commendable of the Scottish government to provide free sanitary products to vulnerable women and teenagers who have little or no income to spare.

We hope the project will be successful and that period poverty will soon be a thing of the past.

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We put down irregular periods to many things.

Being stressed out at work. Having a bad diet. Being sick.

But, it turns out that a pretty common syndrome can be the cause of irregular periods, and you don't even know you have it.

Polycystic ovarian syndrome, or PCOS, can cause your time of the month to be erratic, or in some cases, prevent the arrival of your period.

PCOS can't be diagnosed by just one simple test, but there are various signs and symptoms that could help you identify it.

As stated above, absent or irregular periods could be an indicator, as well as weight gain, acne, excessive hair and infertility.

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But don't be alarmed if you recognise some of these symptoms, because you're not suffering alone, and there are many ways to treat it.

Mary Jane Minkin, M.D., a clinical professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Yale University School of Medicine told Women's Health that between five and 10 percent of menstruating young women display symptoms of PCOS.

Another doc, Mamta Mamik, M.D., an assistant professor of obstetrics, gynecology, and reproductive science at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai told the publication that "one of the conundrums is whether or not you develop PCOS and then gain weight or gain weight and then develop PCOS. Probably, both can happen.”

If you are overweight, Mamta advises you to create a balanced diet and exercise plan for yourself.

“Weight loss really helps to normalise the abnormalities,” she says.

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She further explains that if you have any other symptoms, including infertility or diabetes, go straight to your doctor to get checked out.

Your ob-gyn can order blood tests to be carried out which can signal if you have an abnormal level of sex hormones in your body, or high levels of testosterone. 

If you think you have PCOS, Mamta assures that “in general, the treatment is quite straightforward."

If you're not trying to get pregnant, the contraceptive pill can be a great option as it controls the levels or hormones you produce, as well as controlling the outcome of your eggs.

However, if you do see a little baba running around in the near future,  your gynaecologist can give you medication called Clomid, which starts you ovulating. “Success rates are quite high," Mamta assures.

Everyone is different however, so if you believe you have PCOS, talk to your doctor or gyno, and they can advise the right course of action for you.

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There is an app for everything nowadays, from planning your weekly budget to scoring your next date, but would you trust an app with your fertility?

Natural Cycles promises to utilise science to advise you on when you are or are not fertile at various points in your monthly cycle. 

The app promotes a non hormonal method of contraception, and judges whether you are fertile or not.

 

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So, how does it work? Well, you measure your temperature first thing in the morning before you get out of bed.

'This reading is an indirect measure of your hormone levels and the information the app needs to effectively analyse your cycle and calculate your red or green day.'

The app was devised by a couple called  Elina and Raoul Berglund for their own use, but they soon wanted the method to be accessible to all women. 

 

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'The couple was unsatisfied with what they found and both to having been active for many years in research in physics, they decided to apply their knowledge in advanced mathematics and data analysis to develop a solution to meet their needs.'

'An algorithm that accurately detects and predicts ovulation and fertility.'

'In the beginning, they used the algorithm for their own purposes but soon realised that this was a huge unmet need amongst women and decided to develop a mobile app.'

The goal was to create a contraceptive option without any of the side effects of chemical methods. 

As the app gets to know you body better through your temperature readings, it is more accurately able to predict your most fertile days in real time. 

However, if you are someone who experiences changes during your cycle, or you're not the most regular, then this app may not be the best option.

 

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The app is definitely a welcome development for women seeking a hormone-free method of contraception.

However, it may be more suited for women who are actively trying to get pregnant, to know when they are most fertile to aid with family planning. 

 

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