In a nutshell, ‘Period poverty’ refers to having a lack of access to sanitary products due to financial constraints. Something that many of us are lucky enough to probably take for granted.
Charities such as Freedom4Girls have been doing amazing work in countries such as Kenya where this is a known issue, especially for young girls who end up missing large amounts of their education because of it.
However, this isn’t just an issue in countries as far away as Kenya. This is happening on our doorstep and is having a serious affect on the education, health and general quality of life for thousands of women and especially teenage girls in the UK.
What causes ‘Period Poverty’?
Recent studies have shown that one third of the UK population have experienced poverty in recent years, with women being one of the most vulnerable groups.
Access to food and adequate housing are often what springs to mind when we think about poverty but ‘period poverty’ is an inevitable aspect for many women in the UK.
Imagine being a young teenage girl feeling too guilty to ask your parents for sanitary items when you see it’s already a struggle buying the food that the family needs. Add to that the fact that menstruation is still a taboo subject for many people, making it even more difficult to ask for help when it is needed.
But it doesn’t have to be this way...
What can we do about it?
Sign the petition and spread the word
The #PeriodPotential campaign is prompting Education Secretary Justine Greening (a woman with the influence to make big changes here) to introduce access to free sanitary products in all schools. This would mean girls can spend time focusing on their education rather than worrying about how to deal with being on their period. How it should be.
The petition already has over 50k signatures, go team! Sign it here.
Use the #PeriodPotential hashtag and join the debate on social media to keep the discussion going.
Talk to friends and peers
It’s time to ditch the taboo and get talking. By keeping menstruation an “on the table” subject it helps other women feel more comfortable to ask for help, get access information and explore their options.
When was the last time you had a frank discussion with your friends about your periods? You’d be surprised how many “Me too!” moments can be had, as well as “I wanted to ask someone about this for a long time...”
Support charities and organisations
Local food banks and homeless shelters are also great places to reach out to and give donations directly. After all, those in need are closer to home than we often think.
Do you agree this is an issue worth shouting about?
Use the share buttons below to spread the word on Twitter or Facebook.
We like the way you think, Michelle Simas!
With access to one period cup, menstruators have everything they need to take care of their periods for years to come. <3
Girls should not be ashamed to have periods.. its a necessary fact of life.
But products need to be available other than in school. Girls will not leave their homes if they do not have the products available there. Is there a way to provide this ? Can they get a full weeks supply at school so they have enough for their next period.?
Such great information!
Thank you for sharing, @jemima and @Andy Kadir-Buxton. <3
Many women suffer from period poverty, they have difficulty finding money for sanitary wear that men do not need to, and there have been attempts to end taxing such products around the world. However, the co- inventor of the contraceptive pill, Gregory Goodwin Pincus, was Catholic and, in an attempt to get a Pope to back his invention, came up with the idea of giving women a week off their pills in order to induce a period; this is not necessary. The Pope was not impressed. Women in period poverty are thus able to take the contraceptive pill all month long at no extra cost. In the UK children and unemployed get free prescriptions, while everyone else can get a pre-payment certificate to spread the cost of all their prescriptions to a low amount for the whole year. Those unable to use the contraceptive pill to end periods can get a cheap one off payment menstrual cup that can be used time after time. (See: Alleviating Menstrual Cramps).
nothing was mentioned about colleges now providing the ‘blue flower red flower’ this is set up in schools so that girls don’t have to feel ashamed about not having products as they can walk in the offices and got to the box which has load of stuff. even brand new underwear if you have leaked so you can still feel confident at school.