Free Sanitary Products To Be Given Out In UK Schools From This Week
Up to 49 percent of girls are said to have missed a day of school because they can't afford to buy sanitary products, with some said to use other things like tissue or socks instead.
The research, carried out by Plan International UK, revealed that out of the girls who have missed a day of school, 59 percent of them made up a lie due to the stigma that still exists around the issue.
Children's minister Michelle Donelan said: "Periods are a normal part of everyday life and we do not want young people missing out on lessons because of them.
"We know that it is not easy for everyone to access period products where and when they need them.
"This scheme will deal with those problems so young people can go about their daily lives without getting caught out if they have come on their period unexpectedly, forgotten to bring products with them or if they can't afford the products they need."
Rose Caldwell, CEO of Plan International UK, said: "We know that some girls miss school because they don't have period products, and that they have had to use items like toilet roll and socks because they can't afford anything else.
"So having access to a range of period products at school will make a very real difference to many girls' lives."
In the UK, sanitary towels and tampons are classed as a 'luxury, non-essential item' and carry a 5 percent tax levy - known as 'tampon tax', whereas things like bicycle helmets and postage stamps are exempt.
The average lifetime cost of the true luxury of having a period comes to around £4,800 ($6,250).
Speaking to The Independent, Lucy Cannon, a PE teacher at John Cabot Academy in Bristol, said a scheme called the Red Box Project has helped them to offer free sanitary products for girls, after teachers had sometimes been forced to buy products for their students with their own money.
She said: "They weren't prepared so would leak in a lesson, go home and rarely come back. Or, they were simply too scared to come into school without any products.
"Since introducing the red box, one girl said to me: 'I can be a child again, I can run around at lunchtime without worrying; before, I only had one pad to last all day so was always worried about leaking.'
"Offering free products also normalises the dialogue around periods. Everyone in school now talks openly and positively about periods - including the boys. The Government's funding should have happened years ago: nothing has changed, we've always been women, it's just now people are listening."
Featured Image Credit: PA
Topics: uk news