Over 50s Lifestyle

Share the Dignity, a charity bringing dignity to women in need

September 24, 2020
Share the Dignity, A charity bringing dignity to Women in Need

According to a Human Rights publication in 2019, Older women—those aged 55 and over— was the fastest growing cohort of homeless Australians between 2011 and 2016, increasing by 31%. It is likely this trend will continue given the ongoing shortage of affordable housing, the ageing population and the significant gap in wealth accumulation between men and women across their lifetimes. The recent COVID-19 pandemic will not help the situation as more people face homelessness in the wake of the crisis.

These women’s circumstances vary with respect to their assets, income and capacity to work. A range of preventative, innovative and cost-effective solutions are vital to reduce the risk of homelessness for older women and to ensure that long-term, sustainable options assist the most vulnerable cohorts.

Share the Dignity, a charity bringing dignity to women in need

Access to Sanitary products is a right not a privilege.  Periods are a normal part of a woman’s life yet many women in Australia who are in poverty or homeless can’t even afford the basic sanitary needs such as pads and tampons. Can you believe that?  Can you accept that?

My guest today couldn’t accept that and actually did something about it.  When Rochelle first learnt of homeless women going without basic sanitary items during their menstrual cycle, she decided the question was not, “why is no one doing anything” but rather, “what’s stopping me from doing something?”


I was honored to interview this lovely lady Rochelle,founder of Share the Dignity on my Women Living Well After 50 podcast last week. Rochelle is Share the Dignity’s founder, Managing Director and the title she is most proud of ‘The Pad Lady’. Rochelle has led a team of volunteers collecting around 2.5 million sanitary products across Australia.founder of Share the Dignity on my Women Living Well After 50 podcast last week.

During our interview we discussed the wonderful work she and her team are doing to provide women who are homeless and in poverty with the basic sanitary needs we all take for granted. We also discussed the rising numbers of homeless women, especially in the Over 55 demographic. This is a powerful interview and one not to be missed.

What you can do to help to be part of Women Supporting Women through Share the Dignity

Listen to the Podcast

or

Watch on YouTube

Take part in one of the fundraising events or donate to the Charity. If you live in Australia you might like to become a Volunteer

Let’s all get behind the Move4Dignity and It’s in the Bag campaigns.

Meet Rochelle

Rochelle Courtenay – Founder, Managing Director and the title she most loves ‘The Pad Lady

Rochelle Courtenay, Share the Dignity’s founder, Managing Director and the title she is most proud of The‘Pad Lady’. Rochelle has led a team of volunteers collecting around 2.5 million sanitary products across Australia.

When Rochelle first learnt of homeless women going without basic sanitary items during their menstrual cycle, she decided the question was not, “why is no one doing anything” but rather, “what’s stopping me from doing something?”

In March 2015, Rochelle took matters into her own hands collecting sanitary items with her local community and distributing to local shelters. As a result, a simple idea of giving dignity to women, Share the Dignity was created and has grown to a national charity.

Consequently, it has over 5,000 volunteers Australia wide, and most noteworthy, provides multiple initiatives aimed at giving dignity to women.

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12 Comments

  • Reply Donna Connolly September 24, 2020 at 13:45

    Hi, Sue and Rochelle – What an inspiring story. This is a fantastic reminder to look around us, see what is not okay, and find what is in our power to change without always waiting for someone else to fix it. We have much more power, individually and collectively, than we realize!

    • Reply Sue Loncaric September 25, 2020 at 14:05

      I really enjoyed interviewing, Rochelle,Donna and she and her team of ‘sheroes’ are doing wonderful work. xx

  • Reply Dr Sock September 25, 2020 at 04:31

    Sue, it was inspiring to read about this initiative. Did you know that in developing nations, lack of access to sanitary supplies is also one of the big reasons that girls and young women leave school? And yet there is much research showing that supporting girls’ education is one of the most powerful ways to improve the economic situation of a country, improve social equity, and reduce the rate of global population growth. AND it also helps address climate change.

    Jude

    • Reply Sue Loncaric September 25, 2020 at 13:56

      Rochelle and her ‘sheroes’ are so inspiring Jude and I wasn’t aware of the situation here in Australia, let alone in developing nations. Thank you for your input and comment. x

  • Reply Dr Sock September 25, 2020 at 04:33

    Sorry, I accidentally hit reply before finishing. I really appreciate that you have highlighted this topic on your blog.

    Jude

    • Reply Sue Loncaric September 25, 2020 at 13:55

      Thanks Jude, it was a very emotional interview really.

  • Reply Debbie Harris September 25, 2020 at 07:52

    This is a great post Sue, highlighting something we all need to be aware of and what we can do to help. Thanks to you both 🙂

    • Reply Sue Loncaric September 25, 2020 at 13:55

      Thanks Deb, I was shocked when I heard the stats from Rochelle and my own research. I felt very moved after the interview and Rochelle and her Sheroes are doing a fabulous job. x

  • Reply Denyse Whelan September 25, 2020 at 18:40

    Thanks Sue for shining a much needed light on Share The Dignity. This is my 4th year being involved making up a bag (or 2) as I have in 2020. I add all the recommended items & add my own including pen & notebook, combs, hair towel & a drink bottle. My bags are done & will be taken to Bunnings for collection as per the dates in November.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric September 26, 2020 at 03:56

      Hi Denyse, you are organised! I just think ‘It’s in the Bag’ is a lovely concept and Rochelle shared some touching stories of responses from some of the women who receive them. xx

  • Reply Sue-Anne at SisterStay October 3, 2020 at 01:08

    What a fabulous topic, Sue and one to really get out there to the general public. Period poverty is REAL and widespread. There’s a similar charity in the UK which conducts resuable pad sewing workshops. Perhaps after COVID, we should all switch our mask-making skills to pad-making.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric October 4, 2020 at 09:49

      Rochelle and her team do a fantastic job Sue-Anne and it was a very touching interview. x

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