Scotland takes a strong lead
Scotland’s government’s answer to period poverty is impressive. From August 2018 free sanitary products will be made available to female pupils in every school, college and university in the country. The initiative also aims to reach some 18,800 adult women from low-income families in collaboration with the charity, FareShare.
England fails to follow
Ministers in London have apparently ruled out extending the policy to English schools despite concerns that period poverty is affecting pupil’s education.
Campaigners say girls who can’t afford protection have lower school attendance, educational attainment and emotional wellbeing. The Department for Education’s view differs. Their view is that there is no significant national impact on school attendance and it is leaving it up to schools to decide whether to provide assistance.
A survey of 1,004 women aged 14-21 carried out by Plan International UK last October found 15% struggled to afford sanitary products while 10% could not afford them at all. Some 12% have been forced to “improvise” their own sanitary wear.
London Mayor joins forces with Red Box Project
The Red Box Project, an initiative started in 2017 in Portsmouth and now national, offers boxes of sanitary wear to schools. In the first year of operation, 168 boxes were provided. The project has been given a boost by the Mayor of London’s recent decision to join forces. There is now a donation point for sanitary products at City Hall. Some 80,000 young women and girls in London are potentially affected. Sadiq Khan has also called on the government to eradicate period poverty.
Camden Red Box is at: https://www.facebook.com/groups/176496402980855
“Let’s Talk” with tampon tax funds
The government has allocated £1.5 million of a £15m “tampon tax” fund to the Let’s Talk Period Project to distribute products to girls and young women in need in England. No start date or details of how many schools it will reach are available as yet.
Jean Kilshaw, on behalf of Feeding Camden