Menstruation should not hinder athletes. Period.
That’s the motivation behind the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs’ partnership with hygiene experts, Rentokil Iinital, to become the first NRL club to roll out the Washroom Dignity program.
As part of the program, the Bulldogs have installed dispensers and sanitary bins in all public washrooms and female locker rooms at Belmore Sports Ground ahead of Sunday’s NRLW double-header.
The dispensers will provide free access to period products for female players, club employees, fans and visitors.
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Rentokil Iinital has been championing the movement in the corporate world and after bringing the facts to the Bulldogs, it was a no-brainer for the club to strike up a partnership right away.
The club acted quickly to get the dispensers installed within three days of forming a partnership to ensure the products were available ahead of Belmore hosting four NRLW teams.
Rentokil Iinital recently commissioned necessary research into the impact a lack of washroom dignity is having on working Australians.
More than half (55 per cent) of working women have taken time out of their work day to buy sanitary products, while 71 per cent are more likely to work from home on days they need access to period products and disposal solutions.
However for some — like female athletes — working from home is not an option and so 22 per cent of women have taken a sick day because they weren’t confident their workplace had the necessary products and disposal solutions.
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“Central to this new partnership is the shared ambition that menstruation should not be something that holds women back from being involved in Rugby League, or prevents them from performing at their best,” Bulldogs CEO Aaron Warburton said.
“Women make a tremendous contribution at all levels of our football club and the advancement, growth and progression of the women’s game is a priority for the Bulldogs.
“We are committed to creating even greater opportunities for women, as well as developing pathways, to help female staff and players reach their aspirations. Part of this commitment comes with the provision of all the tools and resources they need to succeed both on and off the field.”
The Bulldogs’ female football operations co-ordinator Lauren Milner said the initiative is a “no-brainer” and hopes other NRL clubs follow suit.
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“There have been countless times when I have had young, female players approach me as a team manager to ask for period products as they have been caught unaware,” Milner said.
“So much so, that I have taken to carrying products with me when attending training sessions and games.
“We want all of our players to feel empowered to play at their best, focusing only on their athletic development. We strongly feel that our players shouldn’t have to ask for essential items like this.”
Belmore Sports Ground will host its very first NRLW double-header on Sunday. Newcastle Knights vs North Queensland Cowboys kick-off at 12pm followed bye Wests Tigers vs Cronulla Sharks as 1.50pm.
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