891 Supports the Period Promise Campaign & Access to Sustainable Products

iatse891 | May 09, 2022 |

More than half of British Columbians who bleed do not have access to the menstrual products they need. Poverty and stigma around menstruation can create barriers for women, girls, non-binary, and trans folks requiring access to these basic necessities.

It’s a problem that leads to youth missing school, people missing work and losing jobs, and families choosing between groceries and necessary products.

“Over 22% of people who menstruate have missed work because they couldn’t afford period products,” states United Way in a Period Promise campaign video.

This month, members of IATSE 891 are speaking up about the importance of supporting fellow community members by contributing to the United Way Period Promise campaign. 

Donate here (until June 7) and funds raised will go towards providing free menstrual products for women, girls, non-binary, and trans folks in BC.

Amanda Bronswyk, IATSE 891 Senior Steward, has long been a passionate advocate for increasing access to menstrual products. She initiated the Union’s support of the Period Promise Campaign in 2017.

“As a young woman, I was diagnosed with endometriosis,” says Amanda. “At times this meant a lot of products were needed. As a single mother the costs of having these mandatory products took a hit on my budget. As time went on the costs continued to climb.”

The extent of the problem of period poverty became even more apparent when Amanda started volunteering in the Downtown Eastside with the annual ‘Feeding Hungry Spirits Homeless Lunch’. As she handed out lunches, socks, mittens, hats, and baked goods, she listened to people’s stories.

“I would talk to individuals on the street. The women would explain to me that menstrual products were hard for them to get and they were grateful that we had brought down Rubbermaid containers full of them to hand out.”

Amanda made it her mission to bring the United Way Period Promise campaign to a wider audience when she became the Union’s Treasurer. Today, efforts by members to support the campaign keep growing, with the IATSE 891 Women’s Committee a strong champion.

“The labour movement isn’t just about better wages and working conditions, though obviously we are members because we share and fight for those values,” says Crystal Braunwarth, chair of the IATSE 891 Women’s Committee, and another big supporter of the Period Promise Campaign.

Last year, the IATSE 891 Women’s Committee rallied to get donations from people in the motion picture industry. The Senior Steward’s office and 891 Union Representatives helped get the word out and gather donations. By the end of the campaign, $3,960 had been donated to the Period Promise campaign. 

“The complete health and safety of workers, our families, and our community is part of how we can grow and evolve into inclusive and equitable societies,” says Crystal.

“Period Promise directly addresses health and safety for a wide net of people who have been largely overlooked and when unions can step up and support, laws change. Hearts change. Lives change. We really do have an impact.”

Supporting access to sustainable period products

This year, there’s an option to request your Period Promise donation go towards purchasing reusable or sustainable menstrual products, which can help reduce monthly costs and cut down on plastic waste.

Green Periods is a data-driven project focused on education. It estimates that roughly 30 billion pounds of disposable menstrual products, full of plastic, will end up in landfills and oceans in 2022. That’s the equivalent of 62 large cargo ships.

There is a growing awareness of innovative reusable products, including silicone cups and period underwear, and other options like biodegradable tampons and pads.

“As our industry works more and more towards sustainability in our overall impact on the environment, I want to bring attention to the economic and ecological impact of menstruation products. I would encourage people to try the Green Period Calculator and make the move to green products,” says Crystal.

Green Periods created The Green Periods Calculator for individuals to get a sense of the environmental impact of the products they use, and they’ve also partnered with other socially conscious groups to create Planet-Positive Periods: A Toolkit for Sustainable Menstruation.

To request that your donation to the Period Promise campaign go towards purchasing sustainable products, add a note in the “Donation Details” box here

“We need to initiate discussions about this important topic and eliminate shame around our bodies and what folks deserve as basic human rights and dignity,” says Crystal about the importance of supporting the Period Promise campaign.

“I have deep appreciation and faith in our film community as we all support a myriad of wonderful initiatives year-round, and I know this can be one that we rally for.” 

Donate to the United Way Period Promise campaign here (until June 7)!