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The Empower Period Smash The Stigma Challenge

Irise / The Empower Period Smash The Stigma Challenge

Across the UK, thousands of girls, women and people with periods are unable to control their own bodies and lives because of period poverty and shame. The pandemic has only made this worse.


Because of the pandemic, we are facing:

  • A 20% increase in girls unable to access menstrual products (3 out of every 10) with over a third too embarrassed to seek help (Plan UK)
  • Significant barriers accessing menstrual education and health services, with girls starting their periods with no prior understanding of menstruation (Irise International, Restless Development)

Those who already faced disadvantage are most negatively affected, including those from ethnic and racial minority groups, low income households and those with disabilities (Irise International, Restless Development). They feel abandoned and their mental health and wellbeing is suffering as a result. Cases of depression have more than doubled over the last 12 months and young women are disproportionately impacted with 4 in every 10 affected (ONS). 

As one young woman told us, “It seems those in power don’t really care about us, especially women.” 

The government committed to end period poverty and shame by 2025, but the situation is only getting worse.

The Empower Period Network will not let the most marginalised in our society fall through the gaps, and so in response to this failure to provide sufficient support for girls, women and people with periods, we are standing together to empower those with periods to regain control over their own lives and futures.

The Challenge

The Smash the Stigma Fundraising Challenge will support Irise to deliver peer-led period support with the most marginalised girls, women and people with periods in our communities across the UK.

Through co-creating a collective space for peer-led training, safe spaces for girls, women and people with periods to learn about their bodies and dismantle internalised period shame, as well as receiving Empowerment Packs containing sustainable period products and accessible menstrual education, we will empower vulnerable girls and women to reclaim their bodies and become leaders of their own lives. 

Someone remembered me, this is going to help me” – a young woman receiving Irise’s COVID-19 emergency support

The Smash the Stigma Fundraising Challenge invites you to raise funds by organising a challenge in your city!

Dress up in your best period-related outfit and march proudly to raise awareness around the importance of dismantling period shame to enable girls, women and people with periods to thrive! End your march with a period picnic to celebrate your fundraising efforts!

Think blood-stained pants and white clothes, tampon earrings, vagina prints – feel free to get creative! Unlike a physical challenge, this is a period stigma challenge, so the wackier your outfit, the more likely people will sponsor you to march! 

To get involved, please register your interest in organising a Smash the Stigma Challenge or join an existing challenge below! 

    Upcoming Fundraising Challenges:

    Smash the Stigma Glasgow

    Date: 16th August