Lidl Ireland will offer free menstrual products to women and girls as part of a new initiative targeting period poverty.
The grocery giant said in a statement Monday that it’s the world’s first major retailer to offer such an initiative, which is aimed at tackling period poverty, where girls or women are unable to afford menstrual products.
Eligible customers in the Republic of Ireland will be offered a coupon for a free box of pads or tampons each month — starting May 3 — through the Lidl Plus app.
Lidl has more than 11,200 stores in 29 countries. A spokesperson for Lidl Ireland said that the initiative is limited to its 168 stores in the Republic of Ireland.
The grocery company said it will also make quarterly donations of menstrual products to homelessness charity The Simon Communities to ensure people experiencing homelessness, and who may not have access to a smartphone, can access them.
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“Since learning more about the growing issue of period poverty in Ireland, we’ve passionately felt that as a family retailer it’s in our communities’ best interest to support young girls and women who are affected by this issue,” Aoife Clarke, head of communications for Lidl Ireland, said in a statement. As many as 85,000 women and girls may be at risk of period poverty in Ireland, according to a report published in February by Ireland’s Department of Health and the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth, with those experiencing homelessness or addiction particularly at risk.
“The guiding principle of this initiative is the inherent respect for the dignity of all those concerned, and it is our hope that it will have an impact those who would otherwise have to use less suitable materials or none at all,” Clarke added.
Last year, Scotland became the first country to allow free and universal access to menstrual products, including tampons and pads, in public facilities.
Just a handful of US states and countries around the world have zero tax added to sanitary products, including Canada, India, Australia and Kenya. Last year, Germany voted to reduce its tax rate on feminine hygiene products after deeming them to be a daily necessity, not a luxury.