Petitioning Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and Leader of the Conservative Party Theresa May MP and 1 other

Free Sanitary Products For Girls On Free School Meals #FreePeriods

Millions of girls around the world are denied an education. In the UK, every girl has the right to go to school but a growing number are missing school every month. The reason is bewildering – girls are missing school for the simple reason that they can’t afford sanitary products.

We can, and must, change this. Period Poverty must go.

Mrs May, we are going to lobby your Government so that free sanitary products are provided to all girls on free school meals. This situation simply cannot persist.

The problem came to light last month when Freedom4Girls, a UK charity which provides sanitary products to women and girls in Kenya, was approached for donations by a school in Leeds, which had become increasingly concerned about the number of girls recurrently absent from school.

It’s beyond shocking that British schoolgirls, like me, are facing the same struggles as Kenyan schoolgirls. Girls as young as 11 are suffering the shame of using socks, or taping tissue to underwear is not just unacceptable, but can seriously jeopardise the health of these young girls. Tina Leslie, founder of Freedom4Girls, stated, ‘Nobody thinks it’s happening here, but it is happening here.’

Period poverty has always existed and, up till recently, nothing has been done to tackle the issue head-on. Partly due to the wider matter of Period Taboo, these girls don’t feel comfortable to speak freely and openly about their struggles so we may never know the full extent of this problem. We need to escort period shame out of the door and mobilise the government to stop marginalising girls from the lowest income backgrounds.

Yes, ideally, we would strive to convince the Government to provide free sanitary equipment to ALL schoolgirls in the UK. But, at the moment, this seems like an unrealistic and unattainable task.

What is hugely encouraging is that, on the 14th March 2017, for the first time in history, the House of Lords debated sanitary product provision. This was a bold and momentous step towards eradicating Period Poverty forever.

And Baroness Burt of Solihull, incredibly, went one step further: ‘Could we not give sanitary towels to girls who qualify for free school meals? We already know who they are, and the cost of setting up the system would, I am sure, be very small. It would mean that all girls in school could confidently attend school all month round without having to worry about the embarrassment of their period letting them down.’

Since then, the conversation has continued. 13 MPs have signed an Early Day Motion, proposed by MP Greg Mulholland, entitled ‘Free Provision of Sanitary Products for Girls from Low-Income Families’. So big things are happening, and real change doesn’t seem so far away.

However, we need to take advantage of this momentum and lobby the Government to ensure that action is taken so girls on free school meals are given free sanitary provision. Soon.

Let’s make sure that period-poverty-focused questions continue to be raised within Parliament and let’s look forward to ending the wider Period Taboo.

 

Find out more:

http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/laura-coryton/the-lords-and-commons-are_b_15569270.html?utm_hp_ref=uk&

https://hansard.parliament.uk/commons/2017-03-30/debates/DAADA2FE-C533-4674-8137-104621BA79A1/SanitaryProducts

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-39266056

http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/leeds-girls-school-tampons-sanitary-towels_uk_58c9482be4b01c029d77d7d5?ncid=fcbklnkukhpmg00000001

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/girls-skipping-school-periods-cant-afford-tampons-sanitary-pads-a7629766.html

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2017/mar/17/girls-from-poorer-families-in-england-struggle-to-afford-sanitary-protection

 

 

This petition will be delivered to:
  • Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and Leader of the Conservative Party
    Theresa May MP
  • Justine Greening MP

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