Breakthrough for period poverty movement

Girlguiding advocates are leading our campaign to end period poverty. Advocate Sophie shares their view on the latest news of funding for free menstrual products in schools.

Sophie, Girlguiding advocate
12 March 2019

The Girlguiding advocates are thrilled to hear that the Government will be dedicating funding to provide free menstrual products for anyone who needs them in secondary schools! 

Advocates wanted to speak out about period poverty after learning how many people were being impacted by this issue. Plan International UK’s research shows that nearly half of girls have missed an entire day of school because of their period. This is simply not acceptable, and something needed to be done.

We were inspired by the work of fellow campaigners Amika George and our friends in Girlguiding Scotland. We echoed their dream that no person should be restricted or held back because of their periods.

We couldn’t believe that pupils aren’t being supported to help make their periods manageable, something that HALF of the population will experience at some point in their lives. This is why one of our campaign calls was for free menstrual products to be made available in schools across the UK.

It’s unfair that many young people are missing out on an education because of periods. Girlguiding’s 2018 Girls’ Attitudes Survey found that other young women agreed with us - 69% of 11-21-year olds said they felt the Government should make menstrual products accessible to those who can’t afford them. We’re happy that the Government has listened, and we’re excited to see this happen from September!

Like many others, I’ve been caught by surprise by my period with no period products to hand, leaving me with just rolled up tissue to cover me till the end of the school day. Not only was this incredibly uncomfortable, but made me feel self-conscious.

Making menstrual products available in schools helps remove periods as a barrier to our education and our future careers.

Giving girls the peace of mind that menstrual products are available should they need them means we can focus on what we’re at school to do – learn. Periods will be one less thing to worry about.

Having the opportunity to speak out for period poverty as an advocate, and achieving this campaign win, has been amazing. I hope this means that no one will feel excluded, uncomfortable or embarrassed because they are on their period - in the same way that I, and so many other young girls and women, have before.

And it gets even better, providing menstrual products in schools will help to tackle the stigma that surrounds periods. Our campaign also called for better education around periods for all children and young people – and we’re also thrilled that this will start in England next year. From next year all pupils in England will learn about periods as part of Relationship and Sex Education.

Periods are topic we’re talking about more and more, and we want the conversation to keep growing. Stigma is still a huge aspect of period poverty, and continued work from campaigners is helping to challenge this. Periods are normal, stigma shouldn’t be.

This is an incredible win in the battle against period poverty. Help us get further by committing to fight period stigma, by taking the period positive pledge and sharing it proudly.