Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond will today (13 March) announce a free sanitary product scheme across all secondary schools in England in a bid to combat period poverty.
Commenting, Farah Nazeer, deputy director of advocacy at ActionAid UK, said: "This is a huge win for UK campaigners who have worked hard to raise awareness of this important barrier to women and girls’ rights. For a long time, period poverty was considered a problem for developing countries only, but the truth is it is a global problem. Providing free sanitary pads – and ensuring that they are safe, and free of harmful chemicals, - is an important step towards solving this.
"Hand in hand with this solution is also tackling period shaming. From bullying by classmates and ridicule by family members to isolation in windowless mud huts, it is a prevalent source of embarrassment for women and girls that also holds them back from accessing an education and fulfilling their potential.
"In order to create sustainable change, we need to provide access to clean and safe products wherever possible and address the extensive gender inequality that is the root cause of the majority of barriers holding women and girls back. Local grassroots activists have been working closely with entire communities to tackle these norms and empower women and girls to reclaim their rights and have made real progress in this way, and we would urge the UK Government to continue its work in this area with a focus on addressing root causes."
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Notes to editors
1. ActionAid is an international charity that works with women and girls living in poverty. Our dedicated local staff are helping end violence against women and girls and changing lives, for good. We won’t stop until women and girls are out of danger, out of poverty and on track to create the future they want.
2. More information about ActionAid UK’s work on period poverty can be found at the ActionAid UK website (including on periods and education and periods in humanitarian emergencies).