Period poverty is a global problem, with millions of women and girls being held back and even endangered by not being able to afford basic menstrual care.
All around the world women are being held back in life and even put in danger, simply because of their period. Period poverty is a global issue, but even in the UK alone, 1 in 10 girls can’t afford to buy menstrual products, with many missing school as a result.
But period poverty isn’t just about affordability. Many women and girls don’t have access to hygienic facilities, or feel unable to manage their periods with dignity - often due to stigma or superstitious or religious dogma around menstruation.
Many girls miss out on education because of their period. Almost half of girls have missed an entire day of school. This leads to around 137,000 girls missing school each year, which could have a lasting impact on a girls education, especially if days are missed each month.
Physical education is also affected, with 64% of girls having missed PE or sports lessons due to their period. This can mean girls aren’t getting the same benefits of physical education and regular physical activity that boys are.
Of the girls missing out on school and PE lessons, in both cases over 50% have made up a lie or alternate excuse because they didn’t want to say they were having a period (Plan International). Of those who missed work, some also didn’t feel comfortable citing a period as the reason.
For anyone, feeling shame or embarrassment about their body can contribute to low self-esteem, stress, anxiety and depression. This can be coupled with the stress from the added difficulty of being unable to buy the menstrual health products needed to manage a period.
Yoppie's Period Poverty guide provides further information on how this issue is being addressed in the UK and around the world. Read more here...
The UK government has a task force whose aim is to end period poverty in the UK and around the world. By bringing together charities, manufacturers and the retail sector they are finding ways to raise awareness and reduce stigma surrounding periods.
Since January 2020 the government has also rolled out free products in English primary schools. From summer 2019 the NHS also pledged to provide free sanitary products for all patients who need them - something which it didn’t do before.
The period product scheme, which provides free period products for all learners who need them, began in 2020 and will continue throughout 2021. Find out more here...