Edmonton tech institute first to sign Period Promise workplace pledge - United Way Alberta Capital Region

Edmonton tech institute first to sign Period Promise workplace pledge

October 7, 2022


Amii aims to make the tech industry more inclusive by busting stigma and improving access to period products

Edmonton’s Alberta Machine Intelligence Institute (Amii), a leader in AI research and commercialization, is helping to move the dial on period poverty by becoming the first organization in the Alberta Capital Region to sign onto United Way’s Period Promise workplace pledge.

Monthly menstruation products are a necessity, but for some people they can be hard to come by. United Way’s Period Promise initiative works with corporate partners to educate and empower them to erase period poverty and menstrual stigma in their own workplaces.

“One of things I love about AI, research, and the tech community, is that we care a lot about social issues and society and the impact we can have writ large,” explains Cam Linke, Amii’s CEO.

Cam said there was a drive at Amii to take their commitment to the next level by being the first signatory in Alberta to the Period Promise workplace pledge — an organizational commitment to supply free period products in all workplace washrooms.

“As we collectively work towards welcoming more women and gender-diverse people into the AI field, access to period products is just one more step we can take to ensure we remove any roadblocks to their success,” explains Cam.

In addition to their workplace commitment, Amii’s upcoming TechAid offers students and leaders in artificial intelligence and tech-focused programming opportunities to learn, connect and give back. Participation in the Reverse Expo and TechTalks is free by donation to United Way and Boyle Street Community Services. Amii hopes to raise $25,000 in support of these causes. There will also be Menstruation Stations in all washrooms to ensure equal access to period products for participants.

While providing free period products can seem like a little thing, it can make a huge impact when it comes to helping people experiencing barriers.

“Tech is a historically male-dominated field. If you don’t have access to that product, you’d go to someone else who might. But if there’s not any people around who may have products, you’re on your own,” Cam says,

“I’ll admit to being really ignorant at first; I assumed that [period poverty] wasn’t a problem, that it was taken care of. As leaders, we can do a lot of things to make sure people feel safe and included.”

Almost one quarter of people who menstruate in Canada say they have struggled to afford menstrual products for themselves or their children. And when people don’t have menstrual products, they miss school, work, or other opportunities to contribute to their community.

“We are absolutely thrilled that Amii has become our first signatory for Period Promise,” says Rob Yager, President and CEO, United Way of the Alberta Capital Region.

“We can’t think of a better way for Amii to launch their Period Promise, share their commitment with their audience, and break barriers than with their Menstruation Stations at TechAid 2022. We applaud Amii’s leadership and commitment to equity in the AI field and beyond.”

By uniting with our neighbours, local businesses, schools, and community organizations, we can support people in need by making sure they can access period products in a safe, inclusive, and dignified way.