Why we think it's important to end period stigma

Girlguiding have created a new badge to end period poverty - Advocate Kim tells us why.

Kim, Girlguiding Advocate
23 May 2018

Tackling the stigma surrounding periods and period poverty is something that needs to be addressed and needs to be changed.

As a Girlguiding Advocate, I want to join the campaign to end period poverty. Girlguiding Advocates are campaigning to reduce the stigma and make period products more readily available in schools, colleges and universities for young people.

Girlguiding has supported me to use my voice and seek change at the highest level. As Advocates and young women, we lead the direction of Girlguiding's advocacy and research. I wanted to be an advocate because it allows me to make a difference and to speak out about issues that women and girls face every day. It’s an incredible privilege to be part of something so empowering.

Why we care

As the Advocate panel, representing girls and young women in the UK, and as a young woman myself, a period poverty campaign is immensely important and relevant. It tackles something lots of people have to put up with every month: the stigma and the cost of having a period.

Period products should be affordable for everyone

Current campaigns, such as the work of Girlguiding Scotland and, most crucially, the stories of other young people, have inspired us. It’s clear that we must act. If one in ten girls have been unable to afford period products, it’s very clear that something has to change!

We believe that enough is enough and it’s time for us, as young women, to help challenge the misconceptions and to try and make periods available for everyone. Toilet roll is provided in toilets, so why can’t period products be available in the same way?

Periods are normal – not shameful

If girls and women are made to feel ashamed of something as normal and necessary as a period, how can we ever achieve true gender equality?

Periods are not something we should be ashamed of or made to feel bad about, they are a natural bodily function. We shouldn’t have to hide period products in an effort to be discreet, feel embarrassed about purchasing them or not be able to afford them at all.

We want change

Today, as we strive for gender equality and the movement working towards this is so visible and important, it’s time to recognise the challenges that still surround periods for many people. Whether it’s shame or stigma, price or pressure, many of us have suffered as a result.

This is why we, the Advocate panel, first approached Girlguiding and asked them to take action on period poverty across the UK. It’s so important that Girlguiding follows the lead of Girlguiding Scotland and takes action on period poverty.

As the leading charity for girls and young women in the UK, we believe in creating a fair and equal world for girls. This campaign, centred around periods, is empowering our voices as girls and Girlguiding Advocates. Being supported by an organisation as rich in history, success and significance as Girlguiding means that our voices, as girls, young women, and young people, will be heard and can make a difference.

And, we’d love you to get involved

Take a look at the Period Poverty campaign page for more information on the changes we want to see, and find out how to get involved. There's activities to do, a pledge to sign and even a new End Period Poverty badge! We’d love you to see you taking part in our campaign on social media using #periodpoverty

Kim, 17

Kim, 17 Sheffield

Kim is a member of the Girlguiding Advocate panel.

Find out more about Advocates.