It can make people feel shame for menstruating and increase stigma around what is essentially a natural process.
It’s an ongoing issue that has been affecting women and girls for far too long. With the average pack of sanitary towels coming in at around three pounds, it’s estimated that more than 137,000 girls in the UK missed school last year because they could not afford sanitary products.
73% of girls aged 14-21 who couldn’t afford safe menstrual product have had to use toilet paper as an alternative to period products.
3 in 10 UK girls have struggled to afford or access sanitary wear during the lockdown
Only 1 in 5 girls felt comfortable discussing their period with their teacher
What’s being done to stop it?
Some places have taken control and made all period products completely free for all, with Scotland becoming the first country in the world to make period products free of charge.
Products in Scotland will be distributed through councils and education providers as the Period Products Act comes into force. Introduced by Labour MP Monica Lennon, the milestone comes after she started campaigning to end period poverty in 2016.
The act comes from Lennon’s belief that sanitary products are a necessity, therefore she is now campaigning for it to become a legal requirement.
Worldwide charities and organisations are battling the growing problem through donating products and raising awareness around safe sanitary hygiene. Some examples are;
They are hoping to put an end to this problem through their charitable work helping women and girls in poverty.
Their work supports women and girls across the UK and globally, providing sanitary products to people who don’t have access to them.
The Gift Wellness Foundation have donated more than 500,000 pads and tampons to homeless charities, such as The Homeless Period and In Kind Direct. Pads are also being distributed to crisis areas across the world including Syria and Ukraine.
Freedom4Girls is a UK-registered charity fighting period poverty. The UK charity aims to support those who are menstruating and facing stigma, taboos and gender inequalities in schools, workplaces etc.
Based in Leeds, they have several practices taking place in regions of East Africa, predominantly in Kenya and Uganda. They aim to raise awareness around the various sanitary products that are also available, promoting re-usable, environmentally friendly products.
One of our amazing Role Models, Sinead Rose, is the founder of We Are We.
They are dedicated to tackling societal pressures, gender taboos, discrimination and inequality uniquely faced by women.
They provide sanitary items to ensure vulnerable women have access to these products on a monthly basis to charities, homeless shelters, food banks and refuges.
“We won’t stop until every woman has her period with dignity.”
What can YOU do to help?
Here are some of the things YOU can do to help period poverty around the world.
Buy period products from brands that give back
Donating to charities when you can
Taking part in local activism by going on marches and signing petitions
Support or help out by volunteering at a charity nearby to you.
Follow Activists who share news, spread awareness and educate on Period Poverty. Scarlett Curtis and Amika George are two examples of two Period Poverty activists that aim to educate and raise awareness around the growing issue of period poverty on a worldwide scale.