21 April 2021
Lidl Ireland just announced that it will be making period products freely accessible to all customers who need them. The initiative uses Lidl's app; people who sign up online with their phone number receive a coupon that's valid for seven days and can be redeemed for one free box of selected pads or tampons. There's no need to re-register monthly — once they've signed up, customers will receive a new coupon on the first day of every month.
Period poverty affects a shockingly large percentage of those who have periods: a 2018 Plan International study found that almost half of girls in Ireland aged 12 to 19 sometimes struggled to pay for menstrual products. Without access to tampons or pads, they either resort to using other materials that either don't work or aren't sanitary, or avoid everyday activities for fear of blood seeping through their clothes.
To reach homeless people who might not have access to a smartphone, Lidl will be making quarterly donations of products to Simon Communities, a charity working with the unhoused. It will also be providing tampons and pads to football clubs across Ireland. As the German-owned discount retailer states, "the guiding principle of this initiative is the inherent respect for the dignity of all those concerned." Two basic human needs for people who menstruate: dignity and period products. Who'll be the world's second major retailer to offer both?
Related: BrewDog launches Bloody Good Beer to celebrate #freeperiod win in Scotland.