I decided to start Period Power after initially trying to help Foodbanks locally but soon came to realise that the demand for help with supplies of sanitary products was so great that I needed the help of others.
I now have my “others” in the form of four very determined and strong women all of whom have the same attitude to injustice in our society and who are all as determined as I am in fighting these injustices.
As a Councillor I see the effect that austerity has had on many people across our City, I see the hardship and the impact on family life.
Visiting one of our local foodbanks I asked whether sanitary products were asked for, available and accessible. I was told that they were rarely asked for or available. I asked that the next Tesco foodbank drive requested them… we were inundated by help; I also put a call out on social media and was overwhelmed by the generosity of our residents.
We have seen a need and are determined to address it. We will raise awareness of and reduce period poverty.
I remember times as a young girl when I had no money to get sanitary towels when I was on my period. It was a horrible time and I felt ashamed both of being poor and being a girl. I couldn’t ask my mum for money because I knew she didn’t have any to spare. For entire days I would feel scutty and dirty. I didn’t want to go to school because I might bleed out and when you would go to the toilet loads of times there’d be no toilet paper or if there was it was the horrible tracing paper stuff that was useless! I never wanted my girls to experience the kind of shame I did or to hate their bodies which at times like that seem to conspire against you.
Although Period Poverty is not a new issue it is one that has been confounded by so called austerity policies where entire families are punished as a consequence of not meeting the mark, and by the fact the government after government have failed to acknowledge that access to sanitary protection should not be dependent on the wealth or not of individual girls and women but should in the 21st century be as ordinary as accessing clean water and fresh air. Period Power is an organisation I know will bring power and dignity to the girls and women we support creating a dynamic movement which will change lives today and in the future.
We can all see the growing impact of poverty, but its becoming more widespread and to see the working poor numbers increase is shameful. Going into foodbanks shouldn’t be seen as the ‘norm’ and in many ways we have to applaud all those who work and support foodbanks and other charities that help to alleviate the suffering of so many, whilst remaining fully behind a desire to reject the need for these charities in 21st century Britain; the seventh richest country. Beyond belief!
Women having the lack of funds to pay for a basic necessity is unacceptable, period poverty shouldn’t exist, but it does. At Period Power we have the determination to help to alleviate some of that inequality, to offer sanitary products where we can, but also to raise the issue on many platforms. And we will. We see the negative impact that period poverty has on some of our young women in schools and colleges, we will do everything we can to help them fulfil their potential.
How can this situation be right?
In the 21st century – girls and women not being able to afford or have access to sanitary products? That’s the choice facing some of our most vulnerable girls and women today.
Degrading, embarrassing, desperate, loss of dignity, feeling ashamed, dirty – unclean.
Degrading and embarrassing – particularly for girls at school who can’t ask or talk about being on their periods.
Desperate – buying food versus sanitary towels.
Loss of dignity – soiled clothes covered in blood.
Feeling dirty – especially when you have no access to washing facilities.
These feelings are real for girls and women who live on the streets.
For women who have to choose whether to feed their kids or buy sanitary towels.
For girl’s at school from low income families where there just isn’t enough spare cash.
Sanitary protection isn’t a luxury it’s a necessity.
Women have no choice around menstruating and that’s why I feel passionate that period poverty has to end and will do everything we can as a group to help to alleviate the problem and raise the issue where possible to help to eradicate it.
We are incredibly lucky and proud to have the following women who volunteer for us, without their support we would struggle to deliver sanitary products as widely as we do. We offer our thanks to them.