13th Mar 2019
The English government announced today that they will provide free sanitary products in schools and colleges across England. The news was announced today by Chancellor Philip Hammond in his spring statement.
In his statement, the chancellor said: “In response to rising concern by headteachers that some girls are missing school attendance due to inability to afford sanitary products, I have decided to fund the provision of free sanitary products in secondary schools and colleges in England from the next school year.”
The move was made after warnings from campaigners that girls from low-income families were missing classes because they could not afford sanitary towels or tampons. In 2017, a poll carried out by Plan International of 1,000 girls aged between 14 and 21, found that one in 10 were unable to afford necessary sanitary products.
Related: This is why you need to open your eyes
to Ireland’s period poverty problem
And in a survey carried about by the sanitary manufacturer Always, it was found that more than 137,700 girls missed school in the UK in 2017 due to “period poverty”, and had been forced to use tissues or cotton wool for protection.
The shadow minister for women and equalities in England, Dawn Hammond said of the announcement: “This is a victory for all those who have campaigned for an end to period poverty.”
The Scottish government was the first government in the world to decide to provide free sanitary products to all students in schools and colleges in August 2018.
Related: This eco-friendly tampon brand is
helping to fight period poverty in Ireland
However, Ireland has not yet made plans to make a similar move, despite the fact that a survey of 1,100 young women carried out in June 2018 by Plan International found 50% of Irish teenage girls found it difficult to afford sanitary products.
109 of these girls surveyed said they had to use “less suitable sanitary product” because of this.
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