How Can I Help Fight Against Period Poverty?
It’s important to remember that period poverty is ongoing which is difficult to address as it is not only an economic/financial issue but its persistence lies on the firmly held cultural beliefs and stigma.
While we wait for bloody change, there’s still lots of ways for you to help women who are struggling and to show you care about period poverty. Here are 8 suggestions from Cardiff Women’s Aid:
- First, get angry!
Once you’re angry you can get productive..
2. Buy from brands working to challenge period poverty:
Brands such as Always and The Red Box Project are distributing millions of period products to educational setting and youths’ groups. Pink Parcel has also set up an initiative delivering period care packages and donating unused items to those living in period poverty.
Also, why not consider sustainable period products such as the menstrual cup, period pants and eco-tampon applicators from brands such as Mooncup and Hey Girls. We would love to hear your experiences if you try any of these products out, which you can send over to Rhianna.firstname.lastname@example.org.
3. Donate to charities!
Many charities locally and globally are doing amazing work to end period poverty once and for all including challenging the menstruation stigma and providing relief.
In the UK, Freedom4Girls donates products across regions in the UK as well Kenya and Uganda. Plan International UK, partners with a young people’s health and well-being charity to tackle the ‘toxic trio’ of period poverty: the cost of sanitary products, a lack of education about periods and the shame, stigma attached to menstruation.
Other charity/ organisations working on an international scale include Action Aid, The Pad Project and Hey Girls.
4. Donating Period Products!
Local food banks and homeless shelters are great places to donate to as its often happening a lot closer to home than we think. You may want to go beyond this by donating a spare box or the familiar few tampons found at the bottom of your bag to homeless women that you may pass in your daily life.
5. Join Campaigns!
There are so many you can get involved with to help spread awareness, particularly from trending hashtags such as #EndPeriodPoverty and #FreePeriods. For example, Bloody Good Period specifically focuses on helping vulnerable groups in period poverty such as refugees and asylum seeker through their education workshops, #FreePeriods, are committed to legal action with their campaigns urging the government to comply to free period products at school. There’s often the opportunity to get involved with the marches or attend organised events. Check out Bloody Good Period/ Freedom 4 Girls websites to find out about these events. Follow the work of period poverty activist Amika George to feel inspired, empowered and informed!
6. Keep the conversation flowing!
Don’t stay silent on the issue now that you’re aware of it! The more we talk with friends, family, colleagues etc, the closer we become to breaking the stigma. There are lots of statistics available online, such as Plan International UK’s recent study for you to share with others. Also, see what period poverty hashtags are currently trending so you can join the debate on social media.
7. Act by signing a petition for free period products:
There are lots of petitions out there for you to sign such as Bloody Good Period in the UK has set one up for the UK to follow Scotland’s lead in making period products free for all. Also, you may want to write to your local MP for the government to take action such as enrolling all schools within the scheme of free period products.
8. Educate yourself!
You can always learn more! This can include listening to different peoples experiences who menstruate and doing further research on what is currently being done to fight against period poverty and how this can go further.
A bloody brilliant book (pun intended) is Period Power which struck the perfect balance between education of the female body in a light hearted, riveting manner.
More resources on period poverty include:
A recent study by Plan International UK.
2019 Oscar Winning short film: Period. End of Sentence.
Fighting period poverty requires efforts on all of our parts, with big or small making a real difference.