Anne O'Leary, CEO of Vodafone Ireland, Fiona Parfrey of Riley and Aideen Chambers of Vodafone’s Women’s Network pictured at Vodafone Head Office.

I’m going to be honest. I was looking at this press release when it landed in my inbox wondering what do I do with it. I believe we need to start lending our voices and platforms to great initiatives that make the world a better place. The tech angle here is thin but because it’s Vodafone, I’m going to run with it. Too often, despite half the country dealing with them, we shy away from talking about periods. That’s why I think it’s great to see Vodafone announce a new partnership with Riley to provide free period products to all employees at its head office in Dublin and in retail stores.

Period Products In Ireland

Ireland is the only country in the European Union not to impose a tax on period products like tampons. But we’re far from perfect. Some countries still apply a VAT rate on these “luxury” items. I’m sure you’re aware there’s nothing luxurious about a period. Simply put, tampons should be made available to all who need them. Period poverty is another serious issue where people going through a period simply cannot afford period products.

There are also new period products on the market which are not eligible for lower or zero tax rates. Products like period cups that can be cleaned and reused are a sustainable solution. Great if you can afford them with their base cost and additional tax on top as they are not treated the same as tampons.

For all of these reasons, private companies are taking steps themselves. Lidl recently offered free period products within their Lidl Plus app, meaning free period products were available to those who need them every month.

Now, Vodafone is going to offer products to all staff in Ireland.

Riley Period Subscription Box

Vodafone will offer free period products to all employees in their Irish head office and retail estate. This has been made possible by teaming up with Riley. Riley is a Cork-based business born out of the pandemic, spearheaded by three female entrepreneurs, Aine Kilkenny, Fiona Parfrey and Lauren Duggan.

With the average sanitary pad containing about 90% plastic, Riley is an eco-friendly alternative that doesn’t harm the planet. All of their products are made a Global Organic Textile Standard certified material ensuring there are no added chemicals or toxins. The majority of packaging is compostable, and the tampon applicators are bio-based and made from sustainable sugar cane.

Anne O'Leary, CEO of Vodafone Ireland and Fiona Parfrey of Riley pictured at Vodafone Head Office, Leopardstown in Dublin, announces partnership with sustainable period product subscription service, Riley, and will provide free period products to all employees at its head office in Dublin and in retail stores. The announcement marks another significant step in Vodafone’s commitment to ensuring employees are supported through every life stage.
Anne O’Leary, CEO of Vodafone Ireland and Fiona Parfrey of Riley pictured at Vodafone Head Office, Leopardstown in Dublin.

Fiona Parfrey, Co-Founder of Riley outlined the Riley mission as being “ultimately to improve women’s lives. With our eco-friendly period products made from 100% organic cotton, women are getting sanitary products that are better for their bodies and better for the planet”.

The partnership with Riley will help Vodafone meet its ambition to be recognised as the world’s best employer for women by 2025.

Anne O’Leary, Vodafone Ireland’s CEO believes “today’s announcement highlights our ongoing commitment to creating a more inclusive culture for our employees. Vodafone values innovation and it is fantastic to see a small Irish business like Riley, see a problem and find a sustainable solution through the development of their eco-friendly period products”.

Be More Aware Of Period Issues

My ask to you, as you read this, is be more aware of period issues in Ireland even if you feel they don’t affect you. Not that long ago a period ad was banned in Ireland because people found it offensive. We need to grow up and realise this impacts everyone, either directly or indirectly.

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Founding Editor of Goosed, Martin is a massive tech fan, into movies and will talk about anything to anyone. - Find me on Mastodon