The issue of period poverty has been making waves in the media recently, after reports surfaced of schoolgirls in Leeds missing school because they could not afford sanitary products. One teenager told the BBC she taped toilet roll to her underwear and missed school “every month” because of her period.
Many families in the UK can barely manage to cover costs for food, bills and rent; and the monthly expense for sanitary products is an additional burden. Women who are homeless are most affected- they cannot afford to pay for these products, and they lack the amenities to change their pads or tampons, clean up any leakage, etc.
Periods are unfortunately still a taboo subject in society, despite media sites (Buzzfeed, Mic. AJ+) trying to norminalise talk about it. It is a crying shame that period poverty is still an issue in a first world country!
The Monthly Gift is a campaign started in July 2015 that aims to make sanitary products (tampons, pads, etc.) accessible to people who are homeless/ experiencing poverty. Donations are forwarded to charities and organisations helping people in need of such necessary (not luxury!) products.
It was initially designed to be a week of raising awareness, but two years on, it has gained overwhelming support and continues to grow and grow!
The Monthly Gift donates to local charities and food banks helping people experiencing poverty and you guys can get involved in these ways:
- Follow them on their social media pages- on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram (@monthlygiftmcr)
- Hold your own collection and donate to your local charity! be sure to tag @monthlygiftmcr the picture. There are other campaigns that deal with period poverty as well: @HomelessPeriod_, @nomoretaboo, @FreetobeOK, @everymonthmcr, @CrimsonWaveOrg, @HPLiverpool, etc.
- If you live in or near Manchester, you can head over to Oklahoma in the Northern Quarter and TMG will help forward them to local charities on your behalf.
- Alternatively, you can donate to them via GoFundMe.
I really want to encourage people who are not based in Manchester to donate to their local charity or food bank too. Poverty is an issue everywhere and as long as there’s poverty in the world, there’s period poverty!
A pack of tampons or pads may not cost much to me or you, but to a girl experiencing period poverty, it could mean not being able to go to school for a week. Missing one week out of every four means they are placed at a disadvantage for their studies and it is crucial that we work together to help stop period poverty in the UK!
Periods may not be a pretty topic, but it is an important one. Every little action counts and we can help make a difference to people’s lives by working together 🙂