WE ARE on a mission to make sure that no girl in the UK is living in period poverty. On December 20th we organised a protest of 2000 people outside Downing Street.
On March 26th the government gave £1.5 Million in funds to address U.K. period poverty. But our fight is far from over....
WHAT IS PERIOD POVERTY? Period poverty is a term that refers to being unable to access menstrual products because of financial challenges.
It’s damaging. It’s undignified. It’s unacceptable, and it must stop.
Globally: Over 1.2m billion globally lack access to basic sanitation and hygiene, and the United Nations has recognised menstrual hygiene as a global public health and human-rights issue.
UK: #FreePeriods was started in April 2017, after the BBC published a report that revealed that children in the UK were routinely missing school because they couldn’t afford to buy menstrual products. Shockingly, some were using socks stuffed with toilet tissue or newspaper.
There was widespread disbelief that this was happening right under our noses. Yet, the government has yet to act.
But it’s not just schoolchildren who experience period poverty. The needs of homeless people, refugees and asylum seekers, as well as people in prisons are often sadly ignored.
WHY DOES IT EXIST? In the UK, research has shown that women spend over £18,000 on their periods over the course of their lifetime.
Additionally, we are still paying a 5% VAT as they’re deemed a ‘luxury item’. Jaffa Cakes are considered an essential item, and so, remain untaxed. This is a sexist levy that upholds the taboo around periods.
As poverty and governmental cutbacks bite, and we see a growing dependence on food bank handouts, menstrual products become an unattainable luxury to many.
The shame and embarrassment around menstruation is still so prolific, that many people suffer alone, and in silence, reluctant to ask for help when they need it.