Girlguiding joins campaign to stamp out period poverty in the UK

24 May 2018

  • New Period Poverty badge available for girls to pledge support and banish stigma

Girlguiding, the UK’s leading charity for girls and young women, is joining the growing movement of period campaigners to make a positive change and end period poverty with the launch of its UK wide campaign. Launching today, the campaign calls for dedicated funding for schools, colleges and universities to provide period products and for all pupils to be taught about periods and puberty as part of the new relationships and sex education curriculum.

Inspired by Girlguiding Scotland’s Period Poverty campaign launched in September 2017, Girlguiding’s advocate panel of young members aged 14-25 want to widen the campaign to tackle period poverty across the rest of the UK and address the stigma and shame that can be associated with periods.

The Girlguiding advocate panel said:

As the Girlguiding advocate panel we use our voices to call for change that will improve the lives of women and young girls. When we heard that period poverty is something that affects so many young women, we knew this had to change.
There are some amazing campaigners already working towards ending period poverty, including in Girlguiding Scotland – and now we want to act. We approached Girlguiding and asked them to support us in campaigning to end period poverty and tackle the shame and stigma associated with periods. 
We believe that periods are normal – not embarrassing! So, we are asking Girlguiding units to talk openly about periods, and for school curriculums to include more information about periods, taught to everybody, not just girls. We want period products to be accessible for anyone who needs them. They aren’t a luxury but an essential – just like toilet roll.
We hope that through this campaign, Girlguiding can be part of the solution to period poverty – and help put it to where it belongs: in the past.

According to research by girls’ rights charity Plan International UK, one in ten girls have been unable to afford period products and 49% of girls have missed an entire day of school because of their period, of which 59% have made up a lie or an alternate excuse.

Girlguiding’s new campaign has three main calls:

  1. For Governments across the UK to provide dedicated funding for education establishments (schools, colleges and universities) to provide period products for pupils who need them.
  2. Girls tell us that language is very important in contributing to and tackling stigma and shame around periods. We are asking our Girlguiding members across the country to take our pledge to always talk openly about periods and to help make sure no one feels embarrassed or ashamed about periods.
  3. All pupils should receive the same information about periods in schools, and what to expect in puberty must be part of the new comprehensive relationships and sex education (RSE) school curriculum in England. We’re also continuing to work with parliaments in devolved nations to improve information about periods.

As part of the campaign, the Advocate panel, made up of girls and young women aged between 14 and 25, have designed the first ever Period Poverty badge for girls and leaders to wear to show their support for the campaign and encourage others not to be ashamed or embarrassed about periods.

With over half a million members, Girlguiding will be tackling the issue surrounding taboos and stigma head on in weekly unit meetings. Girlguiding has worked with the charity WaterAid to create activities to help girls aged ten and above in Guides and Rangers, to find out about period poverty across the globe. The new resources will also support leaders to talk openly about period stigma, dealing with periods and period poverty.

Girlguiding members are being asked to pledge “to tackle period stigma by talking openly about periods and so that no one feels embarrassed talking about them.”

Girls will also be encouraged to collect period products for their units and local foodbanks, if able to do so.