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#FreePeriods march seeks to put an end to period poverty

December 20th 2017 / Ayesha Muttucumaru Google+ Ayesha Muttucumaru / 0 comment

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A march this evening is calling on the British government to improve access to free sanitary products for girls in the UK. Here’s how you can get involved

According to recent stats from children’s charity, Plan International, 1 in 10 girls in the UK are unable to afford tampons and as a result, are missing school and other activities because of it. ‘Period poverty’ is prevalent in 2018 and a protest organised for 5 pm tonight looks to put a stop to it for good.

The Pink Protest, a collective of activists founded by columnist Scarlett Curtis and writer and director Grace Campbell, has joined forces with Amika George, the 18-year-old founder of the #FreePeriods movement, to organise a march in London to call on Theresa May and the British Government to provide free menstruation products to all girls in the UK on Free School Meals (which equates to about 208,000).

It will be going ahead on Richmond Square opposite Downing Street today between 5 and 8 pm and speakers will include Baroness Shami Chakrabarti, Adwoa Aboah, Daisy Lowe, Suki Waterhouse, YouTube star Tanya Burr, comedian and journalist Ayesha Hazarika and politician Jess Phillips to name but a few. The protest is for everyone, whether they’re man or woman, adult or child and with participants encouraged to wear all red, we anticipate that the wave of rouge descending towards Parliament will make for an impactful bird’s eye view.

“We believe that sanitary care is a fundamental human right,” The Pink Protest writes on the event's Facebook page. “Periods aren’t a choice, they are a natural part of the body. This means sanitary care is not a luxury, but a necessity. No girl should be going without, however the reality is that in the UK, thousands of girls are missing school because they cannot afford sanitary care.”

Driving home the messages that a) period poverty is a major British problem and b) it’s genuinely fixable, the march currently has 2.6K people and counting registered on its Facebook page. According to the campaign’s calculations, the approximate cost of giving all of girls on the Free School Meals scheme sanitary care would be £4.78m. This is based on the assumption that the average woman/girl uses 4-5 products for each day they menstruate, and that each girl has 68 menstruating days per year.

Could an end to period poverty be in sight? Here’s hoping. It’s about bloody time.

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