Period Products – Just Do It!

The Stormont Executive seems determined to add to the pressures and the indignity already experienced by thousands of women and girls here every month.

Instead of progressing proposals to provide free period products in schools, colleges, universities and other public places government departments are fighting amongst themselves over who should be responsible for it.

Recent research found that more than a quarter of puplis here have had difficulty getting period products, while about one in 12 said they had missed school because they did not have any. Another survey revealed that almost half of 12 to 19-year-olds have struggled to afford period products.

Dysfunctional government

The inability, or the reluctance, to take decisions which benefit people’s quality of life has become a hallmark of the Stormont Executive. The government parties hold on power and re-enforcing their tribal and sectarian camps has always been prioritised over progressive legislation.

The Scottish Executive introduced a free period products scheme almost two years ago. Schools in England have been providing free period products since early 2020. Even Lidl supermarkets in the Republic of Ireland are providing free period products – but the NI Executive, despite committing to making products available in all schools, is still finding excuses for not implementing the scheme

Period poverty – do they really care?

The costs of tampons, pads and towels can be prohibitive for many women and young girls. It is estimated that 10% of school girls are unable to afford sanitary products and that around 14% have to regularly borrow from a friend. A further 10% say they have to improvise sanitary wear. As a result, their education is disrupted, school days are missed and they have to suffer the indignity and lack of wellbeing that results.

It is long passed time that stigma surrounding menstruation was dispelled. Long past time that women and girls have to suffer the indignation and stress of period poverty and the effects it has n their lives.

It is long past time for the legislation to be in place. Just do it!

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