Woolworths have announced they are renaming Feminine Hygiene aisles to Period Care in Australian stores from TODAY!
I am so excited to hear of this change. The language we use around periods is IMPORTANT! When we use euphemisms like ‘feminine hygiene’ and words like ‘hygiene’ to describe periods, this is only contributing to the stigma that still very much exists around this natural bodily function.
When we call a period what it is, we are helping to break through the stigma and shame that surrounds them. We are showing that it is not something to be hidden.
Using the word hygiene can imply that periods are dirty. This is not the case. Yes we need to manage our periods and clean ourselves, but that’s no different to using soap or toilet paper or deodorant or tissues. Why are we only using the word hygiene in association with periods?
A statement issued by Woolworths Managing Director Natalie Davis said:
“Many of us still tread around using the word period as if it’s inappropriate or something to be ashamed of. The truth is periods are a very natural part of life.
“This is a change we can make today that will help debunk the stigma of calling a period what it is and will help many young women grow up feeling less shame or embarrassment, so we’re excited to introduce this in Australia.”
“We trialled this in our New Zealand supermarkets last year and the reception from young women and parents in particular has been remarkable. Young women are especially passionate about reclaiming the word and calling periods what they are.
“Our research shows that Australians agree there is still a stigma around the word period. As Australia’s largest retailer, we feel a responsibility to make a simple change, that can help remove some of the embarrassment around periods.
“We are also partnering with Share the Dignity for a third year, to help address period poverty in Australia.”
Rochelle Courtenay, Founder of Share the Dignity, had this to say “If we can’t comfortably talk about periods, we can’t address period poverty. We need open conversations around menstruation so we can make changes for those in need.”
Woolworths have also engaged Ash London as a Period Care Ambassador. Ash London said:
“I’m all for calling things the way they are – and for too long we’ve felt like we have to speak in code about one of the most natural things on the planet! This may seem like a small step, but my hope is that it contributes to a future where young people especially feel less shame and embarrassment when it comes to periods. Teenage years are full of enough cringe moments without adding period shame to the mix. I think this is a wonderful step in the right direction from a major brand like Woolworths.”
Countdown NZ was the first to implement the change to Period Care
When a friend sent me this article about Countdown NZ implementing the change of language to their supermarket aisles, I decided to make a TikTok video about it. I explained the difference in language between the two supermarkets and why it was important to change it.
The Tiktok went a little bit viral and while most of the comments were positive, I did receive a bit of hate. So much so, that I actually deleted the app from my phone for a while as I needed a break.
But I’m glad I made that video and contributed to the conversation around this topic. Someone from Woolworths PR emailed me today to tell me about the change as they’d seen my video on TikTok. I was thrilled they took the time to personally reach out to me and I’m so pleased to see this change is happening.
The new signage is visible across Woolworths digital platforms from today (25 Feb 2021) and will progressively roll out across all stores in Australia in the months ahead, so keep your eyes peeled!
The Better Period
Ellie Heasman is a period blogger and founder of The Better Period. Ellie helps people on their journey to a better period through introducing them to the world of menstrual cups and period underwear, and sharing knowledge about the menstrual cycle and fertility awareness. You can join in the better period conversations on Instagram @thebetterperiod_ or find out more about Ellie here.