Period poverty has surged in the UK post-pandemic, leaving those who were already struggling at even more of a financial loss. With major period poverty organisations honing in on city centres, those in rural areas are being left out.
Period poverty is a major issue facing many individuals in the Glossopdale area. The need for period products has never been greater... but how can we all be involved to tackle period poverty?
STEP 1 – TALKING
The most effective way to break down taboos or embarrassment about periods is through education. Normalising both the concept and the reality of periods for young people will help shape attitudes in the future. Lack of, or poor lessons about periods can reinforce the idea that periods are embarrassing. Starting and maintaining conversations about periods in the home is vital in avoiding this. Jump online! See what resources are out there for parents/guardians. Take a look at the current RSHE manual or the Hey Girls 'My Period Cards': a great game to start positive conversations about periods at home!
STEP 2 – CHANGING OUR LANGUAGE
Talking about periods is one thing but using the correct language is another. It is so important that when we talk about periods we don't use certain phrases and words that reinforce taboos. Avoid using the word 'sanitary' or 'napkin'. 'Sanitary' implies periods are dirty and it's not a napkin. It's a pad! It is also vital to remember that not all women have periods and not all people who have periods are women. Menstruation is a biological function. It is not the definition of somebody's gender identity. It might seem awkward right now to say "people who menstruate" or "people with cycles” but this is just like changing other biased language i.e. saying 'firefighter' instead of fireman.
STEP 3 – LEARNING FROM OTHERS
– Action Aid UK is working with women and girls living in poverty. (@actionaiduk)
– Freedom For Girls are tackling period poverty in the UK.
– The Women's Environmental Network is educating people about environmental period alternatives as well as period poverty. (@wen_uk)
– Proud of my Period are centering Black people in conversations about periods. (@proudofmyperiod)
The period community, though often hidden away, is filled with great resources, so jump online and give these pages a follow and donate if you can.
STEP 4 – CHOOSING THE RIGHT PRODUCTS
The products you decide to use for your period can help tackle period poverty in the country! When doing your shopping, see if the brand has a 'Buy One! Give One!' donation process, i.e. when you buy a product, they will match that donation and give it to those in need. Always and Hey Girls UK are two companies working hard to tackle period poverty.
STEP 5 – DONATE!
Almost all supermarkets will have a donation box for a local food bank but, if you can, make an effort to throw in some pads and tampons too. Additionally, donating items that may be ruined due to lack of access to period products such as underwear, socks (which are often used as an alternative to a pad) and tights is super helpful! As a parent/guardian who wants to better educate their kids about periods, taking them to the shops and choosing products to donate is a great way to normalise the reality of periods and educate them on period poverty.
STEP 6 – ‘TAKE WHAT YOU NEED. GIVE WHAT YOU CAN'
Periods can have an effect on us in the workplace especially if it catches us off guard. Setting up a collection/donation point where you take whatever you may need and donate what you can to help eliminate period shame in your workplace. Periods do not stop for a pandemic and we can all take part in tackling period poverty to support those around us.
by Freya Slack.