Period Poverty & What You Can Bloody Well Do To Help End It

Article by: Cia
image description: open book with bloodstains, speech bubbles saying 'It's only blood!!! Ya fuckin pissbabies'
Art by Amelia A.J. Foy
Like most other people in the UK whose frustration towards their period doesn’t tend to extend beyond its physical symptoms, I assumed that period poverty was a distant problem - it happened elsewhere, never in my own country. That was, of course, until the rise of Amika George’s #FreePeriods campaign in April 2017: all of a sudden, my feed was flooded with statistics like ‘40% of girls in the UK have used toilet roll because they couldn’t afford menstrual products’ and ‘over 137,700 children in the UK have missed school because of period poverty’, which therefore puts them at a stark disadvantage to their non-menstruating counterparts.

The problems of period poverty extend far beyond students, though: Bloody Good Period highlights the effect of the price of menstrual products on asylum seekers and refugees.

Despite the fact that pads, tampons and menstrual cups are an absolute necessity to anyone with a period, they’re still unaffordable for many people in the UK. So what is the government doing to help? The Scottish government has made history by ensuring free access to menstrual products in all schools, colleges and universities; the Welsh government has pledged £1m to address period poverty; but what about England? Last week, Amika George launched a new legal campaign to lobby for Westminster to address period poverty in England - in partnership with the Red Box Project and with the support of the Pink Protest, the #FreePeriods movement has embarked on a CrowdJustice drive to raise money and push for English schools and colleges to provide menstrual products for those who need them.

How can you help to end period poverty in the UK?

  • Donate to the #FreePeriods CrowdJustice campaign
  • Donate to, fundraise for or volunteer with charities such as The Homeless Period, The Trussell Trust and Bloody Good Period
  • Donate pads or tampons to your local food bank (find here or here)
  • Campaign for change yourself by signing petitions (such as #FreePeriods’ here) or writing to your local MP/representative
  • Work to destigmatise periods online and otherwise by sharing links to campaigns or educating younger siblings, friends and cousins (tips here)