Congratulating Global Women partners BNZ, Chorus, Deloitte and Genesis on winning the 2020 Employers of Choice Awards


Almost a quarter of people who menstruate in Aotearoa have missed school or work because they have been unable to afford menstrual items. Lack of access to period products results in makeshift items being used, along with feelings of shame and embarrassment which result in further stigma of periods.

A Youth19 study has found Māori and Pacific students are impacted disproportionately with 19% of these students compared to 9% of Pakeha reported experiencing period poverty. Earlier this year the government committed to tackling period poverty by providing free period products in schools, with the roll-out beginning at 15 Waikato schools and to be expanded to schools nationwide on an opt-in basis by 2021.

Period poverty is a complex problem that manifests itself in a myriad of ways – in this kōrero our fantastic lineup of speakers will demystify the issues surrounding period poverty and look at what more we can do to solve this inequity for our women and girls.

November 24th, 2020 | 12:00PM – 1:00PM

GLOBAL WOMEN MEMBER | Dr Emma Parry is a Specialist Obstetrician and Gynaecologist and a sub-specialist in Maternal Fetal Medicine, with a strong background in service delivery, improvement and education for both health professionals and consumers. She is currently based at Middlemore Hospital and Ascot Radiology. She is a recognised leader in Australasia in the field of Maternal Fetal Medicine and is currently Chair of the MFM subspecialty committee of the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RANZCOG). She was the inaugural Clinical Director of the New Zealand Maternal Fetal Medicine Network (NZMFMN), which she established and ensures all women of New Zealand have access to excellent perinatal care. Emma is also a Director of groundbreaking Kiwi feminine hygiene company Oi (Organic Initiative).

Tainui, Ngati Paoa. Michele Wilson is the co-founder of AWWA period proof underwear, a New Zealand period underwear brand dedicated to helping eradicate period poverty in Aotearoa. Michele has a special interest in the pre colonial ikura stories of our Tipuna and what we can learn and gain from them. Michele has two daughters and loves Fishing, being in the bush and poetry.

Caro Atkinson is a teacher, educator and counsellor who has held a variety of roles in learning environments for the past thirty years, ranging from primary to tertiary education and everything in between. Caro is currently working as a Guidance Counsellor and teacher of Health in a teen parent unit and as a trauma therapist for a service provider which provides counselling and support for survivors of sexual violence.

MODERATOR | Jacinta Gulasekharam is an impatient, impact driven social entrepreneur and connector. She co-founded Dignity - a social enterprise with a mission to deliver period equity and has created access to 30,000 sustainable period products. The Positive Periods campaign she led resulted in the government committing to free period products for students in NZ. She’s the Partnership Manager at FlexiTime supporting their partners and enterprise clients. She’s a First Foundation mentor and lends her experience to grow the startup ecosystem.

Jacinta is an Edmund Hillary Fellow, Women of Influence Young Leader Finalist 2018/2020 and Sustainable Business Network Change Maker Finalist 2020.

MODERATOR | Miranda Hitchings is an impact specialist and entrepreneur with a demonstrated history of creating social change. Miranda co-founded Dignity in 2015 with the vision of ending period inequity by providing free period products to all those without access. Since, Dignity has provided over 30,000 products to 130 schools and community groups.

While working for Flinch, Miranda consulted for various UN subsidiaries, including taking on a leading role to develop a campaign for UNESCO to encourage policy support for Comprehensive Sex Education. The campaign, 'Comprehensive Sexuality Education: A Foundation for Life & Love', helped see Thailand update their national curriculum to feature positive representation of sexual orientation, reproductive rights, and gender norms. Miranda currently works as a community investment specialist at NZ Post and as a Trustee for the Social Change Collective . A highlight of her role has included the roll-out of free Red Cross mental health resources to 1.5 million homes during lockdown.

About Dignity

Dignity launched at the beginning of 2017 in order to help menstruators in New Zealand have access to period products in the workplace and distribute to those in need. Their vision is to achieve period equity in Aotearoa, where no one misses out on opportunities simply because they have their period. Dignity delivers free period products through their two Impact Initiatives, ‘Buy One Give One’ partnerships and gifting initiatives for the benefit of kiwi workplaces, youth and community groups.