Woolworths refers to tampon users as 'people who menstruate'

Woolworths accused of cancelling women after it referred to tampon users as ‘people who menstruate’

  • Woolworths used the term ‘people who menstruate’ instead of women in a post
  • The store was referring to partnership with a charity that supplies free tampons
  • Such gender-neutral language is growing in popularity, attracting criticism 

Woolworths has been accused of ‘caving in to extreme views’ after the company referred to tampon users as ‘people who menstruate’ rather than women. 

The supermarket chain was announcing a milestone in partnering with non-profit organisation Share the Dignity, which provides free-to-access tampon vending machines. 

‘The 100th Dignity Vending Machine funded by Woolworths has just been installed to help people who menstruate access period care items free of charge,’ the store wrote in a social media post. 

Such terms have grown in popularity recently as a way to be inclusive of those who do not identify as female, including transgender and non-binary people. 

Woolworths has been criticised for ‘caving in to a vocal minority’ by using gender-neutral language (file image)

Other examples which have commonly appeared include replacing ‘breast-feeding’ with ‘chest-feeding’ or ‘mother’ with ‘birth parent’.

Dr Bella A’Brera, the Institute of Public Affairs director Foundations of Western Civilisation Program, said such gender-neutral language undermined biological fact. 

‘By caving into the extreme views of a vocal minority, Woolworths has decided to cancel women,’ Ms A’Brera told The Herald Sun. 

‘Woolworths needs to remember that it is a supermarket. Its purpose is to sell groceries, not radical gender theory.’

The supermarket said the purpose of the post was not political but was simply in recognition of an achievement to increase access to menstrual products for those who cannot afford them. 

‘Our partnership with Share the Dignity has helped provide period care products to tens of thousands of women and other people who need them across Australia,’ a spokesperson said.

They added the products are available to all women, girls, non-binary and transgender people, and family members collecting them on someone’s behalf. 

The supermarket giant was announcing a milestone in its partnership with charity Share the Dignity which provides free pad and tampon vending machines across Australia (pictured)

In June 2020, Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling courted controversy when she tweeted her opinion on the term. 

‘People who menstruate.’ I’m sure there used to be a word for those people. Someone help me out. Wumben? Wimpund? Woomud?’ she wrote. 

Many LGBTQI+ groups criticised the post as transphobic. 

The Body Shop quickly waded in by offering Ms Rowling a copy of the book Trans Rights by Paisley Currah. 

On April 5, NSW Health issued a bulletin announcing free period products would be provided to ‘any patients who need them’ by health professionals funded by the government.

‘For women, girls and people who menstruate, access to period products (e.g. tampons, pads) is an essential need,’ NSW Health wrote.

The department listed a number of reasons why people would not have access to these products including financial constraints, communications difficulties and ‘stigma around… gender identity (e.g. non-binary people, trans men) or intersex status.’ 

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