For many, poverty is a word associated with faraway places. And girls missing school when they’re menstruating seems like something that belongs in another era altogether. But even in affluent nations, some schoolgirls can’t afford sanitary protection, leading them to miss school during their period.
The charity In Kind Direct has identified a “hidden crisis” whereby families are choosing between eating and sanitary protection. The crisis remains hidden due to the outdated taboo on discussing menstruation. And Leeds-based charity, Freedom 4 Girls, was shocked that the period supplies they had prepared for needy girls in Kenya were in fact also needed on their doorstep.
However, one inspiring 17 year old campaigner is fighting to bring the issue into the light.
Amika George is balancing studying for A-Levels with fighting injustice and period poverty. She has started an online petition calling on the government to offer free sanitary products to those girls on free school meals. This way those in need no longer have to struggle for hygiene basics. The petition is nearly at its goal of 15,000 signatures so adding your name can take them over the line.
Today is International Day of the Girl. So we’re nominating Amika George as our Fab Girl of the Year!
Change is coming. This year in the UK 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’. Let’s hope that in the near future we can end the indignity of period poverty and give girls the best start to womanhood.
Have you ever experienced period poverty, or do you someone who has? Is news of this situation shocking to you, or no surprise at all? Would you support free sanitary protection for those on free school meals? Tell us in the comments below, we’d love to hear your views.