Stigma is a barrier to people accessing menstrual products, support and guidance when they need them. It leads to negative feelings about oneself and body and keeps everyone silent about problem. We dismantle stigma so people can talk about periods, get the support they need and feel confident.
Young people are uniquely positioned to lead social change. They have a vested interest in a fairer future and those who experience disadvantage because of their periods have unique insight into how to realise period equality for everyone. Through our network of young people Irise disrupts traditional power structures and hierarchies addressing the roots causes of why periods have been neglected for so long.
We are ending period poverty and shame for everyone, forever through pursuing sustainable, long term changes in policy and practice. When the leadership table is inclusive and reflects the diversity of experience of people with periods, structures and stereotypes will change to identify and meet their needs. This will create a more equal society for everyone. Period.
Periods have been neglected for too long. We’re working to understand how periods affect people and what kind of support is having the most impact. Good data will help keep periods on the agenda and make sure they are integrated into wider policies and programmes.
Find out more about current and completed projects in the UK.
Irise launched the Empower Period Programme in March 2020.
Funded by the Act for Change Fund, the Empower Period Project provides young people with the opportunity to lead their own period positive advocacy projects within their communities, as well as being able to contribute to national conversation about periods. Ultimately, we are building a movement of young people who can end period shame and realise period equality for everyone.
In partnership with Feedback Theatre CIC, Irise International piloted an exciting series of workshops using Applied Theatre techniques to address topics through movement, play, objects and creative writing. Co-production techniques were used to achieve these goals and produce sessions resources and content. This work will inform menstruation education by further understanding girls’ experience of menstruation. An evaluation was also completed to look at the impact of using a creative approach on girls’ self-esteem and sense of self-worth.
Grant awarded by the Let’s talk. Period Project Grant Scheme which is funded by DCMS through the Tampon Tax Fund and delivered in partnership with BrookCharity and Plan International UK.
This project in deprived parts of Birmingham, rated as some of the worst to be a girl in the UK, found that girls were navigating their first periods alone, surrounded by embarrassment and stigma.
Six student volunteers worked with 690 students across 3 schools, creating a safe space to ask questions, delivering teaching about menstruation and puberty and encouraging discussion around gender norms.
Students who took part in the sessions improved their knowledge of menstruation and built their confidence.
Young people valued receiving support from their near peers, identifying students as role models who understood their needs better than teachers and parents.