What do you think of when you hear the term ‘period poverty’?
For many, period poverty goes beyond just a lack of access to safe period products, it’s about a lack of education on what their periods are and how to manage them properly and being ashamed and embarrassed specifically this is called ‘Menstrual Health Management Education’ we can all remember the awkward period education delivered in school from embarrassed teachers.
Freedom4Girls are a UK-based period poverty charity who advocate free access to period products for those struggling and advocate to delivering good quality menstrual health education to all who need.
It is unimaginable to think that in the UK people would be missing school or work because of their periods, but Freedom4Girls, have spoken of the embarrassment of discussing their periods and spoke of the stigma that they feel, especially when having to ask to go to the toilet during lessons or workplaces. They spoke of their lack of knowledge about periods and the products on offer due to lack of mainstream education around menstruation and girls from some cultures where periods are a taboo subject had extremely little knowledge and felt shame during the time they were on their periods, some viewing it as making them unclean. We provide good quality education to make people more comfortable discussing all things periods. We think it is vitally important to provide education around reusable products, which help keeping the cost of a period down and are far better for the environment. We provide education on how to use reusables which include period pants, washable reusables and menstrual cups.
The missing out of daily life is not only limited to young people. The number of adults who are missing days at work due to not being able to afford products is also growing, something unthinkable today.
There have been a lot of negative beliefs around reusable products being dirty and not as hygienic as disposable ones and by giving access and good quality education about these products people are able to see how effective and beneficial, they are as well as money saving. We are also currently working to get these products into further education settings as student’s do not have a large disposable income.
By expanding our education programme to include the education of boys and men Freedom4Girls aim to reduce the stigma and negative connotations that periods can have. We intend to normalise people having periods and remove some of the unhelpful language used. ‘Sanitary’ gives the impression of something being unclean, which only serves to continue to add to the stigma and embarrassment. We also discuss the range of products so that those who do not have periods can go and buy products confidently for those that do. By debunking the myths of periods and giving people correct information they need, and by providing products for those who are unable to afford them, people are able to learn how to live during their periods, rather than have to take a step back from life every month.
For more information please visit www.freedom4girls.co.uk