Fighting Period Poverty

May 23, 2019

A few weeks ago in Wales First Minister Mark Drakeford announced the governments investment in helping to alleviate period poverty. This came in the form of a grant for £2.3m which is set for immediate action. In result thousands of feminine products will be distributed for free to girls in schools all across Wales.

But Scotland did lead the way—becoming the first country to offer free sanitary products to all students alike from primary school to university in 2017. The initial decision was followed by further funding and expansion in January 2019 which helped to also provide products in libraries and recreational centers.

More recently Seoul, the capital of South Korea, has implemented vending machines that dispense free sanitary products were introduced at 10 different public centers in 2018.

Other countries are expected to follow suit, England being on the top of that list judging from the country already offering free sanitary products to patients in hospitals. The United Kingdom does seem to be on their A-game when it comes to attacking period poverty in the last few years.

So far in the U.S., social movements have been on the rise for fighting period stigma, and attaining better resources for access. Sparked by a lack of period equality with homeless women and an overall lack of access to products in low income communities and school, several organizations are fighting to end period poverty however they can.

The Teen Action Fair annually hosted by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation showcased student leaders in organizations from all over this year, and The Period Movement was one of those organizations: a non-profit that encourages individual chapters in schools all over the country to work to raise money and donate period packs in their communities.

One of our Journalism students met with them, and got to D-I-Y a period pack, a decorated paper bag with about 9 tampons and 5 pads inside. All the packs created at the action fair were donated to shelters shortly after.

The chapter that came this 2019 Fair was Kamiak High School.

We reached out to the social media lead for Kamiak High School’s Period Movement Instagram and inquired about the outreach, fundraising, and student involvement

“Thanks for reaching out! For fundraising: we sold Luna pads (reusable cotton pads) at our school during lunch, and held a fundraiser through Mod Pizza (they donated 20% of the profits they made off of people who mentioned our club when paying).

 We’re also working with our administration to bring pads and tampons into our restrooms for free. We also occasionally hold packing parties during our club meetings.

As far as outreach and educating students about menstrual health, period poverty, etc., that’s something we plan on working on next year. We want to make myth buster/educational posters to put up around our school.”

They responded also by offering further connections.

 “… Let us know if you have anymore connections or if you’d like to get into contact with our operations director so you can get more involved with Period.!”

 Their movement has been successful in creating change in schools and universities all around the U.S. already, starting back in 2014, and they now have a national network of over 300 independent Period chapters.

This is starting to show lawmakers and government officials just how many young people are working to make changes for good in their communities, and that they won’t give in.

 

Sources

https://www.period.org/

http://www.papermag.com/period-poverty-tampon-tax-united-states-2631311601.html

https://www.freeperiods.org/mission

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2019/apr/13/period-poverty-wales-schoolgirls-to-be-given-free-sanitary-products

https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-wales-47417429

 

Want to be a part of a movement?

 

Find more info on The Period Movement website https://www.period.org.

 

Join the campaign: https://actionnetwork.org/campaigns/endperiodpovertyinschools

 

Sign the Petition: https://actionnetwork.org/petitions/sign-now-end-period-poverty

 

 

 

 

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