The UK government has launched a new campaign to tackle period poverty globally, ahead of International Women’s Day.
Penny Mordaunt, Minister for Women and Equalities and Secretary of State for International Development, announced the new campaign to break the stigma and taboo around periods and end period poverty by 2030.
The campaign includes £2 million in UK aid support to help organisations which are already working to eradicate period poverty across the globe; a new advisory task force of government departments, manufacturers, retailers, social enterprises and charities; and a commitment to support 54 projects working across 27 countries to help girls manage their periods with dignity.
In her International Women’s Day speech, Mordaunt said, “Empowerment starts at school.”
“But girls can’t focus on their studies and life choices if they’re worried about turning up in the first place; if every month they’re worried about being able to buy sanitary protection or embarrassed or in pain at school.”
“The Girls Attitude Survey run by Girlguiding UK found that 26 per cent of their 11-21-year-old respondents had felt embarrassed talking to people about their period and 21 per cent said they had been made to feel ashamed or embarrassed about their periods.”
“But this is an issue which affects adults too.”
In many developing countries, it is estimated that half of all women and girls are forced to use rags, grass and paper to manage their periods. A lack of access to products, and the stigma and taboo that still surronds periods, can force them to miss school or work, or even live in isolated huts during their periods each month.
“Yes, those in extended crisis, homeless or in financial turmoil, but also many others who just occasionaly find themselves hard up and without access to what they need.”
Hey Girls founder Celia Hodson supports the government’s campaign saying, “I very much welcome the statement from Secretary of State Penny Mordaunt MP regarding her commitment to set up a Task Force to focus on finding a sustainable model to eradicate Period Poverty in the UK.”
“I’m confident that given recent reports highlighting Period Poverty has significantly increased and the high percentage of women and girls currently struggling to access menstrual products, this initiative will receive cross-sector support and should be widely supported by cross-party members.”