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.