Written by Zara Arif
How many times have you gone into a shop and bought tampons or pads without a second thought?...
Well, there are over a million women in the U.K. that struggle with purchasing sanitary products especially during the on-going pandemic.
What is period poverty?
Period poverty exists when there is an obvious disparity in the accessibility of sanitary products and this is unfortunately the reality of a significant percentage of women in the U.K. despite the many efforts of the government and individuals to raise awareness.
Period Poverty in the U.K.
With the emergence of the global pandemic, it's no surprise that people around in the United Kingdom are faced with unprecedented social and economic hardships, and women and young girls are not left behind with this struggle as jobs have been lost and financial strengths have drastically reduced.
At times like this, it is important for the government and citizens to step up and come up with a solution to the situation. So, what initiatives have been put in place to end period poverty in the U.K.?
It can not be overlooked that the U.K. government has taken a lot of bold actions in response to this problem. In 2019, the government aimed to provide free sanitary products for girls in both primary and secondary schools by the following year. In 2021, the "pink tax" was removed and Scotland became the first country in the world to give out free sanitary products to everyone who needs them.
While these moves are great for the movement, they have been underutilized. 24% of secondary schools in the U.K. are yet to signup for the free sanitary products initiative, resulting in the government spending less than 50% of the fund allocated to this project.
How can you help?
The first step in helping end period poverty, is reducing shame around periods and period poverty. Secondly, it is important to support charities such as:
- Freedom4girls- https://www.freedom4girls.co.uk/what-we-do/period-products/
- Action Aid- https://www.actionaid.org.uk/donate
- Period Poverty- https://periodpoverty.enthuse.com/donate#!/
These charities work endlessly to provide women and girls in the U.K. with free sanitary products through the public donations and as a result helping improve their mental and physical wellbeing.
A call to action to end period poverty is of utmost importance as the physical and mental wellbeing of women and girls are at stake if they are not able to have easy access to these sanitary products as at when needed. It is also important for secondary schools to take advantage of the initiatives put in place by the government, as it will go a long way in ending period poverty.
There is absolutely no shame in asking for help and the most courageous thing to do is reaching out and accepting help in order to help ourselves.
If you are reading this, this is a call to action to help put an end to period poverty in the U.K. Please share this with your friends and family to spread awareness.