All over the UK Women are unable to afford Fem-care products. Food banks are struggling to keep up with demand. Every toilet in the UK is stocked with toilet paper. There should be free Fem-care products too, yet they are seen as a luxury. This is not a luxury item, it is a basic necessity for 50% of the population.
Period poverty will affect 1 in 10 women in the UK in 2018.
Why does it exist:
Period poverty is driven by historic society taboo around periods. The fact that there is a 5% tax associated to Fem-care products, which is only ending in 2018, shows this issue is current and needs to be addressed today. One huge step in the right direction is to break the taboo around periods as a topic. It is after all just simply a fact of life. Not having access to products creates a sense of shame for women. Women bleed, it's not of choice, it’s biology.
What and how can you support FreePeriods.org and the mission?
The Free periods mission is to make sure that no girl is missing school because she can’t afford menstrual products. We believe it’s a fundamental human right to be able to access period products and we are calling on the UK Government to provide free menstrual products to all girls on free school meals and those who are from families who are already on benefits and facing a huge number of financial challenges. No girl should face obstacles to learning, simply because she is born a girl!
We spoke to the founders of the Free Periods Movement to understand the impact, Co-Founder Amika George comments on the motivations behind the movement
“We are seeing the impact that the FreePeriods movement is making both nationally and in other countries. Hearing the stories from girls who have told us how they would make their own protection every month from socks or loo roll, who tell us how they would borrow money from friends and teachers to buy period products, it’s hearing about the anxiety and dread of leaking onto school uniform, of not being able to concentrate in class knowing they weren’t adequately protected. These are the girls who motivate us to make a change. We have been contacted by amazing people all over the world who tell us that they feel inspired to fight period poverty, who ask what they can do to help us from thousands of miles away, from men who have been inspired to donate to food banks, and some have even started charities, never realising that period poverty exists right under their nose”
What is the vision and aim for 2018 with #freeperiods ?
“Our vision is to lobby the Government to make a statutory pledge to make sure all girls on FSM can access free sanitary products. We will keep fighting. The aim of #FreePeriods is to also get people talking about menstruation and break this ridiculous, out-dated taboo - we want people to talk about their bodies as much as possible, to normalise something that’s always spoken about in hushed tones. We want women (and men) to embrace periods and acknowledge that periods are actually bloody amazing!”
How can people donate and get involved?
You can donate to amazing charities like Bloody Good Period, or Freedom 4 Girls. Talk about your periods with everyone!
Go to www.freeperiods.org and sign up to our newsletter so you can be kept up to date on all things period-related. Sign our #FreePeriods petition in one click and share so we get the 100k signs we need.