What is Period Poverty?
‘Period poverty is a worldwide issue and affects millions of women and girls who struggle to afford or access safe menstrual protection’. (Freedom4Girls)
Period Poverty has huge economic, social and environmental impacts. Many women and girls affected by period poverty are restricted from equal access to education and job opportunities, simply due to their periods.
Has Covid-19 Impacted Period Poverty?
Covid-19 has created a new generation of women experiencing period poverty for the first time.
- Disruption to supply chains has resulted in many women across the globe finding it harder to access sanitary products in shops.
- The added financial pressures of households due to being furloughed or facing unemployment, has created a sharp rise in the number of women being unable to afford sanitary products.
- With more women and girls staying at home due to workplaces and schools being shut, it has also been more difficult to access spaces that offer free sanitary products.
Research in May 2020 from Plan International UK revealed that the one in every ten girls unable to afford period products increased to three in ten families being impacted by period poverty because of the pandemic.
How does Period Poverty link to Safeguarding?
Wellbeing is a key principle in the Care Act (2014). There’s a strong link between safeguarding and mental and physical wellbeing. If someone’s wellbeing is suffering, they may consider certain actions that put them at risk.
Period poverty is impacting the wellbeing of women and girls.
- Cultural norms and practices often silence the issue of menstruation. Therefore, many women feel too embarrassed or afraid to say that they need sanitary products.
- The lack of affordability or access to period products can cause extreme emotional distress.
- Women’s sense of personal dignity is also affected because of a reliance on ‘make shift’ sanitary products.
- Consequently, women and girls suffering from period poverty have felt unable to attend work or school. This further reduces their sense of positive wellbeing.
What is being done to tackle Period Poverty?
- Freedom4Girls have worked with the government to develop the ‘Free Periods’ campaign which has made sanitary products freely available in schools and workplaces.
- Freedom4Girls have developed educational workshops for young people to address the stigma and taboo of periods.
- The Gift Wellness Foundations are working in the UK and globally to tackle period poverty in the most disadvantaged communities.
- Freedom4Girls are accepting donations for sanitary products and have advice on setting up your own donation station to support women in your local community