Updated: Nov 23, 2019
1 in 10 girls can't afford to buy menstrual products according to Plan International UK. Over 137,700 children in the UK have missed school because of period poverty. 68% said they felt less able to pay attention in class at school or college while menstruating. Menstrual products cost more than £18,000, in a women’s life (£13 every month).
40% of girls in the UK have used toilet roll because they couldn’t afford menstrual products. A survey of more than 1,000 girls found nearly half were embarrassed by their period and many were afraid to ask for help because of the stigma. The Labour Party, The Liberal Democrats and The Green Party have all pledged to address period poverty. The Conservatives have not. The stigma surrounding periods has been shown to directly affect a girl’s potential to succeed. If a girl misses school every time she has her period, she is set 145 days behind her fellow male students.
Amika George, 19, who started campaigning on period poverty #freeperiod two years ago, said the move would make a "massive difference" to girls who struggled to afford tampons and pads.
One in 10 girls between the ages of 14 and 21 in the UK have been unable to afford sanitary products, while 49% have missed an entire day of school because of their period, according to research by Plan International.
Children and Families Minister Nadhim Zahawi said:
This Government is determined to ensure that no-one should be held back from reaching their potential – and wants everyone to lead active, healthy, happy lives.
That is why earlier this year we committed to fully-fund access to free sanitary products in all secondary schools and colleges in England.
After speaking to parents, teachers and pupils, we are now extending this to more than 20,000 primary schools so that every young person in all our schools and colleges gets the support that they need.
The announcement builds on bold new relationships, sex and health education, published earlier this year, to ensure every pupil learns about leading healthy lives, including menstrual wellbeing, as part of a well-rounded education on mental and physical health.