Millions of children around the world do not have the right to an education. Here in the UK, every child has the right to an education. However, many girls face missing school every month because they can’t afford menstrual products.
The charity Freedom4Girls provides women and girls in Kenya with menstrual products. This year they were approached by a school in Leeds as the teachers had become increasingly concerned about the number of girls recurrently absent from school.
Young girls are using socks and taping tissue to their underwear because they can’t afford menstrual products. This is unacceptable and can have detrimental effects to their health.
There is a huge stigma around periods and because of that children haven’t felt comfortable to talk about their struggles. ‘We need to escort period shame out of the door and mobilise the government so that children from the lowest income backgrounds are not marginalised.’
Baroness Burt of Solihull suggests: ‘Could we not give sanitary towels to girls who qualify for free school meals? We already know who they are, and the cost of setting up the system would, I am sure, be very small. It would mean that all girls in school could confidently attend school all month round without having to worry about the embarrassment of their period letting them down.’
In addition to support in the House of Lords, 13 MPs have signed and the Early Day Motion by Greg Mulholland which proposes the free provision of sanitary products for girls from low-income families.
There is a momentum growing around trying to end period poverty. We need to take advantage of this, which is why I urge you to sign this petition.