Preventing Period Poverty

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By Molly Agnew and Neil Dobson, Preventing Period Poverty

Did you know that 1 in 10 girls cannot afford sanitary products? Sadly, most people do not and that is what we aim to change.

Preventing Period Poverty is a non-profit organization pushing for changes in the UK surrounding period products and their availability. We work mostly through social media, aiming to reach like-minded people and also people who may not have known about period poverty so that they can help make a change. However small this change may be, we just want to help people in period poverty and also lobby to create policy change.

Preventing Period Poverty is founded and run by two close friends, Molly and Nell, who work very closely but on different sides of the organization, with Molly looking after social media and communications and Nell dealing with the nitty-gritty ideas and our lobbying.

You may be shocked to hear, but in the UK there is a 5% taxation on all sanitary products which are also labelled as ‘luxury items’. To put into perspective, men’s razors and Viagra are not taxed and are labelled as ‘necessary’, however, diapers and sanitary products are ‘luxury’. We work with political and governmental advisers to lobby to lift this taxation and we hope the UK will follow in the footsteps of other countries taking away the taxation.

We work with sanitary ware brands who are willing to donate products to us which we then distribute to homeless shelters in London. Many people forget that women living on the streets still have to deal with their menstrual cycle and the majority do not have access to hygienic products. Many of these homeless women as well as girls living in period poverty have no choice but to use old socks and plastic bags to collect their blood. This is absolutely no way to live.

We believe that one of the reasons girls are living in period poverty is because of the stigma attached to the menstrual cycle. Education is important to us and opening up the conversation. A lot of our social media posts are educational posts about the menstrual cycle and our ‘A brief history of...’ series aims to teach about the history of periods in society. Although we will never be able to eradicate period poverty completely, we can stand up for the rights of women and girls and those in between who live in discomfort for a week every month because they do not have access to the necessary products.