It's time for action on menstrual hygiene
27 May 2019
Tomorrow is International Menstrual Hygiene Day and here in Ilkeston and Long Eaton, Erewash Labour activists are campaigning to raise awareness of the need to end period poverty.
Many young women, including those menstruating for the first time are unable to access or afford sanitary products. This lack of access can have a major impact on women’s and girls’ physical, mental wellbeing and confidence. It is widely reported that this problems leads to girls and young women missing their education, thereby reducing their life chances.
Many women face period poverty having to choose between food and sanitary products, particularly those relying on food banks. Period poverty is a national shame in a wealthy country in the 21st century.
Some startling facts:
- At least ¼ of children in UK are living in poverty.
- At least 1/10 of women / girls unable to afford sanitary products in UK.
- At least 1/7 girls in UK have missed school due to period poverty.
- 1/5 of parents in poverty go without to afford sanitary products for their daughters.
- At least 12% improvise sanitary products (using rags/tissues).
- Many girls have to ask friends for sanitary products.
Whilst easy access to free sanitary wear is also needed to ensure all women’s and girls’ dignity is maintained, we must raise awareness of more environmentally friendly options, because at present:
- Sanitary products generate 200,000 tons a year of waste in the U.K;
- 90% of towels and tampons are plastic, the equivalent of about 4 carrier bags per product; and
- Fragrances, bleaches and gelling agents are believed to be causing environmental and health problems.
Erewash Labour Women’s Officer, Samantha Niblett, said “We are campaigning on International Menstrual Hygiene Day 28th May alongside Crimson Tide – a new local community group being set up to tackle period poverty. Food banks, winter shelters and homeless shelters in Erewash so frequently don’t have sufficient provision of sanitary wear for those in need. We are raising awareness of the need for donations as well as necessary change to social norms and practices to end the stigma associated to something most women and girls experience every month.”
Erewash Labour Group Leader, Denise Mellors, said “It is vital that further action from Government, Funders and the private sector is forthcoming so that together we can make sure all girls are educated about menstruation. Together we can ensure all women and girls have access to hygienic products.
Together we can create communities where no woman or girl is left behind because of her period.”
It’s time for action!