Let’s talk about Periods.
49.6% of the world’s population have, or will have, periods. And for the majority of us females, we have unlimited access to a whole range of products and brands – albeit at a cost – that make us more ‘comfortable’ and able to go about our daily lives with ease during that annoying time of the month.
But for too many women and girls out there, this isn’t the case, and they don’t have this choice. Even though it’s 2017 and periods have been around as long as we have. Even though we are not a third world country. Due to personal circumstances, or limited finances, tampons and sanitary towels are not an option for everyone and this can have much bigger consequences than you might think.
We first heard about ‘period charities’ listening to a friend of Foxtrot Papa’s podcast ‘The High Low’. Hosts Dolly and Pandora discussed how a ridiculous number of school girls in the UK alone are missing 4-5 days of school every month because they are too embarrassed to come to school, knowing that they have no sanitary products to help deal with that time of the month. Not only is their confidence knocked, but repeated absences of this length are putting their education and learning at stake.
And it’s not just school girls that suffer the humiliation and discomfort of not being able to afford feminine hygiene essentials; homeless women, refugees and asylum seekers that survive on just £36 a week are also affected. Having no or extremely little money means that deciding whether to eat that day or to buy some tampons, is their Sophie’s Choice.
Tampon Tax has been debated a lot recently. Tampons are taxed because the government considers them to be a luxury, rather than a medical necessity. I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty sure that none of the images conjured in your mind by the word ‘luxury’ involved menstrual flow. Ultimately, women in our country – and many others – have to pay to deal with something that is predetermined by nature, our sex and our body’s biology. Paying for them is one thing – and something that if you can afford it, you absolutely do because they are vital. But to have no access to them at all because of a financial barrier is simply not acceptable. Every female deserves access to feminine hygiene products regardless of social standing or circumstances.
The average woman will menstruate roughly 450 times over a lifetime. According to some savvy maths2 reported by the Guardian journalist Suzanne Moore, that woman would have spent £18,450 “(taking into account sanitary protection, pain relief and new underwear)” on periods in her lifetime. This figure is shocking to those with salary-paying jobs, never mind those who don’t.
Supermarkets Tescos and Waitrose have removed the ‘luxury tax’ from their sanitary products and are now footing the bill – good on ya! It’s a start. But that still doesn’t help the women and girls who can’t afford them in the first place.
Appalled by this state of affairs, Foxtrot Papa are now doing monthly collections of feminine hygiene products for charity Bloody Good Period. And in case you’re wondering, it’s not just the women – our men folk are equally committed to the cause and have taken to the shops to buy their first period essentials!
This afternoon our first van full of tampons and sanitary towel donations will be whizzing along to the offices of Bloody Good Period to help those who need them.
So here’s our plea. Please support women and girls who are struggling with their natural cycle. Bloody Good Period is our period charity of choice. But there are many others if this one doesn’t float your boat: The Homeless Period and Binti are just a few. All of them are doing an outstanding job of raising awareness, taking donations and managing distributions.
Just think, would you want your mother, sister, daughter, best friend to be going without?
Nope. Neither would we.