I have been meaning to write this post since late last year, but I have only just got round to doing it. I feel very passionately about this topic and I hate the inequality that we are still facing today. The organisation Free Periods are trying to make sure that no girl in the UK is living in period poverty. I find the campaign even more relatable because it was started by Amika George, the A Level student.
I believe that menstrual care should be a fundamental human right for everyone. It still upsets me knowing that there is still a tax on sanitary products. Periods aren’t a choice; they are a natural part of the female bodies. The organisation stresses that menstrual care is not a luxury, but a necessity. No girl should be going without; however the reality is that in the UK, thousands of girls are missing school because they cannot afford menstrual care. Some girls just have to put tissue in their pants and some are even going to the extreme of wearing a sock as a towel!
Free Periods are currently campaigning to urge the UK Government to make a statutory pledge to end period poverty by providing free menstrual products to all girls in the UK on free school meals.
I was shocked at some of the facts around periods:
1 in 10 girls in the UK can’t afford to buy menstrual products.
49% of girls have missed school because of their period.
Menstrual products cost more than £18,000 in a women’s life (£13 every month).
In the UK, 208K girls are eligible for and claim free school meals.
December 20th 2017 saw a protest in Parliament Square to call on Theresa May and the British Government to provide free menstruation products for all girls already on free school meals. The protest was for everyone and I loved seeing the massive turn out of men, women, girls, boys, gender non-conforming people, and children. The protest was peaceful and supportive. Everyone who attended wore red and came with banners, balloons and posters showing their support and love.
Tanya Burr is one of my favourite social influencers; she is an activist wanting to make a difference, especially with gender equality. She has done a lot of work with the United Nations to support this further. I admire her continued positive outlook and optimism, even when fighting for something she is so passionate about. She stated that our, women’s, fight for equality is far from over. Tanya stresses the importance of strength in numbers and everyone coming together to have an impact. Every single voice helps.
I really hope that this whole campaign that has been shared so many times on social media will encourage people to talk more openly about periods; it should not be a taboo subject. If you haven’t already, I urge you to sign the petition on the Free Periods website or even consider donating for Bloody Good Period who give period supplies to asylum seekers, refugees and those who can’t afford them.