If this post makes you a little uncomfortable, that’s part of the reason I’m writing it. It’s evidence of a problem that needs fixing for girls of the present and future. My colleague at Virgin radio down the hallway is an inspiration. Rachel Ettinger is making a tangible difference in the lives of girls and women. And she’s doing so with the help of another inspirational colleague of ours – Mandi Fields.
Perhaps you’ve heard of Tampon Tuesday. It’s now a national endeavour. Mandi started it right here in London when, during a tour of the London Food Bank, she realized there was a need for feminine products for those who couldn’t afford them. (They are expensive!) At TT, women and men come out to a venue, mingle and hear a couple of brief speeches from interesting people for the admission price of a donated box of feminine hygiene products. It’s been a tremendous success.
Now, Rachel is taking it further with her social enterprise, Here for Her. Rachel’s perspective is that women don’t choose to menstruate. It’s forced upon us. So why should we be embarrassed or ashamed of it? The answer: we shouldn’t. She has a beautiful, high-quality clothing line that promotes the message in clever ways that are sometimes subtle, sometimes a little more in your face.
Clarke Rd. Secondary last week approved something simple but so powerful. It’s the first local school to offer free feminine products in the school’s gender neutral washroom. A basket of various supplies is there and barrier-free. Many girls who attend that school can’t afford the products and are embarrassed about asking for them. Now, they no longer have to. Rachel won’t be satisfied until these items are available for free to all women and she does something every day to get closer to making that happen. (Hey Doug Ford – you have three daughters. What do YOU say?)
In the meantime, Rachel speaks at schools and promotes a positive body image and the concept of self-acceptance. As someone who came to this realization much later in life, I admire and support what she and Mandi are doing. I love my Here for Her shirt and I’m delighted whenever anybody asks me what it’s all about.