Period Products Are Now Free In Schools In England
Menstruation is an essential biological function that is experienced by all young women and girls. Unfortunately, it is considered a “dirty” thing in countries all over the world.
There are more than 5,000 euphemisms in 10 different languages used to refer to menstruation. This shows that the menstrual cycle is still a highly stigmatized issue. It is usually a topic people discuss behind closed doors because they feel uncomfortable talking about it.
As a result, there are numerous health and hygiene problems caused by the lack of knowledge and education regarding menstruation but also due to the period poverty which is the main reason for a large number of girls skipping classes in school.
We’re absolutely thrilled every school/college in England can order free period products – from Monday!
— Free Periods (@AmikaGeorge) January 18, 2020
A step forward towards addressing this issue has been made by state-funded schools in the UK. Namely, they will order reusable and single-use pads, menstrual cups, applicator, and non-applicator tampons by using an online system. This will make period products free of charge and available to all students.
It has been estimated that about 35% of the students will make use of these products and apart from schools, colleges in England will also be able to order free period products.
Amika George is a 20-year-old student who is the founder of the “Free Periods” campaign. She started this campaign in 2017 and it took her three years to get this far due to the reluctance of the society toward periods.
Now, she says, it is amazing to see free period products widespread in schools. This step will put an end to the period of poverty as well as to gender inequality. She added that she is satisfied with the government’s decision to invest money in the future of numerous young women by making this huge step.
Recent research has found out that more than 42% of girls between the ages of 14 and 21 have used makeshift period products, such as socks or toilet roll because they couldn’t afford sanitary pads or tampons. According to another research, almost 50% of the girls have missed a day of school due to their period.
Some girls avoid talking about this with their parents because they don’t want them to feel bad about having no money to give them for period products. Also, they are falling behind in their education by missing a day of school because of their periods.
A lot of teachers used to bring sanitary products from home for the girls who couldn’t afford them. With this change, teachers will no longer have to do that. However, not all girls feel comfortable to ask their teachers for period products. According to recent research, only 31% of girls feel free to ask.
Another important issue is the lack of education about menstruation. Girls have reported that their education is focused on the biology of the menstrual cycle while the information about the importance of menstrual hygiene and the use of sanitary products has been left out.
Amika says that the next step is to address the lack of a period of education in schools. She hopes that in this way she will manage to break down the stigma and shame associated with menstruation.
Source/photos: Mashable Shutterstock / Zakalinka