Period poverty affects one in ten women and girls, according to research by Plan International. Their 2017 study found that 12% of those 1,000 surveyed had used alternative materials during their period – such as socks and tissues – because they couldn’t afford sanitary items.
And the stats are even more shocking when you take a look at research by Big Bloody Brunch, who recently found that almost quarter of British women had experienced period poverty at some point in their lives. It also revealed that over a quarter of schoolgirls and women affected have missed school or work because they’ve been unable to afford sanitary products.
Now, secondary schools throughout England will offer students free sanitary products in a bid to tackle period poverty.
Details about the new government initiative are expected to be released this week by Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond, at Wednesday’s spring statement.
It has already been praised by campaigners and has the support of Shadow Minister for Women and Equalities, Dawn Butler, who called it ‘a victory for all those who have campaigned for an end to period poverty.’
‘It’s a disgrace that period poverty exists in the sixth richest country in the world,’ she said.
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Charity Red Box Power also said they were ‘delighted’ by the proposal, tweeting: ‘We’re absolutely delighted to hear that @GOVUK will fund free & universal access to menstrual products in schools (although we know from our work this needs to be in primaries as well as secondaries). A huge testament to everyone who has campaigned.’
It is believed that the scheme will be fully funded by the Treasury without restrictions, much like the current scheme running in Scotland to ‘banish the scourge of period poverty.’