On What's Up TV this week, Elle explored the issue of period poverty.
Sanitary products are essential. Modern day life calls for women to take care of themselves in order to continue their days comfortably. Despite the need for these products, there has been nothing in place to subsidise the cost of tampons and pads nor are there any NHS clinics that will give free sanitary products to the public. Tampons and Pads are still taxed, raising the prices for such a basic need. Campaigns have been fought before to remove the “luxury item” status from sanitary products and in the past year has a petition been signed by the UK public to remove this tax by April 2018.
Still though, people cry out for more, calling for handouts and subsidies to be available considering the unavoidable nature of menstrual cycles. Costs range from person to person as each is tailored to the individual. Even other factors such as painkillers and clothing are now becoming part of the argument considering just how much money can be tallied up in accordance with periods. Estimates range from £30 a year to £400 a year depending on what type of sanitary products purchased, individual needs, and whether you factor in creature comforts.
Whether it be £30 or £400 pounds it’s still a significant amount for individuals to factor into their budgets, especially for people in poverty. These essential items are not freely available to women and girls all over the world, a study in Ethiopia found that 50% of girls miss between one and four days of school per month due to menstruation. Access to free sanitary products in the UK is limited. Some homeless shelters and schools give free handouts but it is not required by the government to do so nor is there a specific budget set aside to tackle this. In extreme cases this forces women and girls to use newspaper or socks which is extremely degrading and not sanitary. Girls miss days of school because of embarrassment and necessity due to lack of supplies. There is a petition and debates in parliament to combat this, asking the government to require schools to give out free tampons to rectify this issue in the UK. A woman living in the UK over her lifetime will, over her lifetime, pay at the lowest example, a total of £1050 and at the highest £14,000.
If you would like to donate and take action against this issue you can go to
As seen on What's Up TV:
'Bloody Good Period aims to create a sustainable flow (pun intended) of sanitary protection for those who can't afford to buy them.
Pads and tampons are not cheap, but for anyone with a period, they are an absolute necessity. It is absurd that they are not free for those who need them. Many living in poverty resort to using toilet paper, old scraps of fabric or nothing at all.
We want to take the financial burden out of the most annoying time of the month by providing supplies to those who need them. '
You can also sign these petitions and contact your local MP if you believe schools should provide free sanitary products for girls.