Minister for Women and Equalities and Secretary of State for International Development, Penny Mordaunt, is spearheading a UK government campaign to break the silence and end period poverty globally by 2030.
It is estimated that in many developing countries, half of all women and girls are forced to use rags, grass and paper to manage their periods.
A lack of access to products, and the stigma and taboo that still surrounds periods, can force them to miss school or work, or even to live in isolated huts during their periods each month.
In the UK, Girl Guiding UK found that 26% of girls aged 11-21 feel embarrassed talking to people about their period, and 21% had been made to feel ashamed or embarrassed about their period.
The campaign to end period poverty globally by 2030 includes:
- £2 million in UK aid support, through the Department of International Development (DFID), to help organisations which are already working to stamp out period poverty around the world.
- A new advisory taskforce of government departments (including the Department of Health, Department for Education and Department for Work and Pensions), manufacturers, retailers, social enterprises and charities.
- A pot of £250,000 funding to begin the work, which will also lever funding and expertise from the private sector to develop a sustainable solution to period poverty in the UK.
- £1.5 million from AmplifyChange to support 54 projects working across 27 countries to help girls to manage their periods with dignity. This is part of UK aid’s ongoing support to the multi-donor fund AmplifyChange.
Penny Mordaunt MP said: “Girls should be able to focus on their education and their future without being worried about or embarrassed by their periods. There are British entrepreneurs and businesses already doing fantastic work to tackle period poverty and I want us to partner and support them to really make a change to the lives of those who need it most.
“This is a global issue. Without education, women and girls around the world won’t be able to take the steps to reach their true potential.”
Celia Hodson, founder of Hey Girls, an organisation that tackles period poverty by giving a girl or woman one pack of products for every pack bought by the public, said: ‘’I very much welcome the statement from Secretary of State Penny Mordaunt MP regarding her commitment to set up a task force to focus on finding a sustainable model to eradicate period poverty in the UK.”