Tag Archives: period poverty

Jo Swinson MP writes…We must end period poverty

Talking about periods apparently is still taboo. In fact we have had to wait until this month, in 2017 for the first ad ever in the UK to show a hand pouring a test-tube of blood-coloured liquid onto a sanitary towel, in lieu of the standard sterile-blue.

The advert, which forms part of a new campaign called ‘Blood Normal’, attempts to get rid of the embarrassment around the ‘Aunt Flo’ after a recent survey found that nine out of ten women attempt to hide the fact they are on their period, and 56% of girls said they would rather be bullied at school than talk to their parents about periods.

For something half the population experience on a monthly basis that is ludicrous.

For the majority of us they are an inconvenience, for example feeling we have to take our entire handbag with us to the bathroom at work, the surest tell-tale sign. But for others, particularly girls who have just started menstruating, the embarrassment can be enormous resulting in lost days of schooling and a huge knock to their self-esteem. This is particularly the case for girls from low-income families who might see their parents struggling to make ends meet and feel reluctant to ask them to add sanitary products to the weekly shop.

A survey by Plan International UK found that 1 in 10 girls had been unable to afford sanitary products. The fact that no one talks about this means that it remains hidden. In a country as well-off as Britain this simply shouldn’t be happening. And it can be stopped. We can end period poverty. The truth is it, it wouldn’t even cost a lot, relatively speaking.

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LibLink: Lorely Burt: The Government must act now to end period poverty

This week Lib Dem Peer Lorely Burt called on the Government to do more to end period poverty. Earlier this year it was revealed that some girls were missing school when they had their periods because they couldn’t afford tampons or towels. In an article for the Huffington Post, she said:

The simple truth is period poverty is a hidden problem; if it wasn’t for teachers and those volunteering at food banks reporting that this was a real issue, we probably would still be oblivious to it. Tragically we simply don’t know how many young girls it affects because embarrassment stops them from seeking help. Anecdotal evidence tells us that young girls who can’t afford sanitary products often end up using tissues, old socks and other totally inappropriate items. Shockingly this is happening up and down the UK – a prosperous and compassionate country.

Before the election, Lorely and others had extracted assurances from the Government that they would look at doing something about this but precious little has happened:

This week I wrote to Justine Greening asking for an update at very least. It seems that this Government thinks it can wash its hands of the problem and leave businesses like Bodyform and Boots, along with charities such as Freedom4Girls and In-Kind Direct, to pick up the pieces. Bodyform for example has promised to donate 200,000 packs of sanitary products by 2020, whilst Boots have placed donation boxes in their stores for customers to donate sanitary products to be distributed to girls in need.

We can’t get away from the fact that often these young girls and their families don’t have the money to purchase these vital hygiene products, thanks to cruel Conservative austerity measures that hit the poorest hardest. It is a scathing indictment of this government that girls in our country are suffering like this. Conservative ministers shouldn’t be allowed to just turn a blind eye and hope the issue goes away.

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Lib Dems to fight period poverty by giving out free sanitary products in schools

A few weeks ago, Lorely Burt raised the issue of period poverty in Parliament after it was reported that some girls were missing school because they couldn’t afford to buy sanitary products.

Today the Guardian reports that the party would ensure that school nurses had stocks of pads to give out to all girls:

The party said it would fund the scheme so school nurses could keep a large stock of sanitary products for girls who need them, rather than singling out the teenagers likely to be struggling with the costs and giving out the products to them directly, which campaigners

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Lorely Burt calls for help for girls in “period poverty”

Every time I remember when I’m in the supermarket, I try to buy a packet of sanitary towels to stick in the food bank donations trolley because I know how difficult it is for women facing poverty to deal with the additional cost that periods bring. The BBC reports this week that girls are missing school because they can’t afford sanitary protection.

Girls in the UK are missing school because they cannot afford sanitary protection, a charity has said.

Freedom4Girls was contacted by a school in Leeds after it became concerned about teenage girls’ attendance.

The group provides sanitary products to women in Kenya – but is now doing the same in West Yorkshire.

One teenager told the BBC she taped toilet roll to her underwear and missed school “every month” because of her period.

Two teenage girls spoke to BBC Radio Leeds about how they tried to cope without tampons, sanitary towels or pain relief.

A discussion on Women’s Hour this morning also highlighted the problem.

It’s good to see that our Equalities spokesperson, Lorely Burt, is bringing this up in her speech in the Budget debate in the House of Lords.

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Recent Comments

  • User AvatarGlenn 19th Nov - 12:07pm
    Britain is a very expensive country with everything over priced and shoddy from utilities, to travel to entertainment. This is what happens when everyone in...
  • User AvatarEd Shepherd 19th Nov - 11:23am
    Sadly this is what happens when football clubs become businesses owned for profit rather than clubs run for the love of the sport. Young football...
  • User AvatarDavid Evershed 19th Nov - 10:44am
    If he is trying to improve the governance of African and other dictator countries then he is doing the one thing that could improve the...
  • User AvatarArnold Kiel 19th Nov - 10:00am
    Catherine Jane Crosland, you are right about my imperfect choice of words, but please distinguish between my overall scenario, which is hopefully, among some minor...
  • User AvatarAndy Daer 19th Nov - 9:24am
    Peter Martin, I was thinking of writers, artists and playwrights when I said the intelligentsia, not myself, but I confess to occasional arrogance on this...
  • User AvatarBrianD 19th Nov - 9:12am
    Blair is trying to help people and he is spending his own money (presumably from lucrative lectures) doing it. Surely any self respecting liberal would...