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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Nottingham chapter.

Period poverty affects every 1 in 3 women (lunette.com, 2018) and requires more attention and funding – both from the public and the government in order to support girls and women who are without any accessible sanitary products every month. Often, students will complain about being “broke” but happily spend £80 on alcohol on a night out, whereas many women are forced to prioritise their spending on food and so sacrifice basic hygiene necessities. This problem is easily dismissed as a third-world problem because, of course, isn’t everyone able to access sanitary products? Unfortunately, this is far from the case, and the reality is much closer to home.


We need to raise more awareness of period poverty. On a small-scale, you can contribute by donating sanitary products to charities and non-profit organisations around the UK which aim to provide free sanitary wear in schools. Girls are missing a week or more off school every month because of their period, as significant embarrassment is associated with a period if it leaks through their school uniform, or the smell is obvious.


Research from Always finds that 6 in ten females who experienced period poverty were bullied at school, which feeds a vicious cycle of underachievement which progresses far beyond education. Missing time off school each month will have a detrimental effect on attainment and confidence, and therefore learning, which is exactly why providing free sanitary products, being conscious of the reasons behind pupil absence, and identifying those most vulnerable to period poverty – perhaps through the Free School Meals eligibility – would reduce the negative effect of periods on academic achievement.


I remember when I was at school and I first started my period during a P.E. lesson. I was 11, and I didn’t really know what the brownish stain was in my underwear. But what I did feel was the embarrassment of getting dressed in the girls changing room with a visible stain on my clothes. I went to see the school nurse and she provided me with my very first sanitary pad, and off I went to manage the situation short-term.


That is the point I’m trying to make – this short-term management of handing out a single pad and thinking “job done” is not enough. It will help for the first few hours, but not in the long-term for the girls who need more than one pad in a day because there are none available at home. The privelege of knowing that there are always pads in the bathroom cupboard is drastically different to the lived reality without any, and instead putting toilet roll or a pair of old socks in your knickers – you can only imagine how messy and uncomfortable this is, with the tissue paper gradually crumbling into smaller pieces, and the sock slipping out of position, neither of which can replace the function of a sanitary pad or tampon.


Global companies such as Always are supporting this movement and are campaigning to #EndPeriodPoverty with the community organisation, The Red Box Project and so far, have donated over 14 million pads to help support girls in schools across the UK. Teachers are targeted on their website to help encourage this implementation into their schools: ‘If you teach at a UK state secondary school with at least 1% of girls eligible for free school meals, you will be entitled to receive free Always pads to help keep your girls in school’. But how can you help?

​1. Raise awareness of period poverty: write articles, speak to friends and family, utilise social media – normalise this conversation.

2. Support charities and organisations: like/ share/ subscribe to their social media pages and websites for up-to-date changes and ways to donate: The Red Box Project, The Homeless Period, Always, Bodyform, Falcom Support Services, Maya Miko, Ink Kind Direct are a few to start with… but don’t let this limit you!

3. Keep an eye out for campaigns and other ways you can get involved.





2019/ 2020 Editor-in-Chief for Her Campus Nottingham A love for writing, drinking tea & chatting about uncomfortable things.
Hey, I'm Chloe Jade Clarke. I studied at the University of Nottingham for a degree in English and Philosophy from 2016-2019. During my time here I started out in journalism as a reviewer for Her Campus Nottingham before being promoted to Campus Correspondent (editor-in-chief) in my third year. After graduation, I will be training for my News Journalism MA at Cardiff University. Here are a selection of articles that I've written over the past couple of years; I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I enjoyed writing them!