What is period poverty?
Period poverty is a topic that most people are still learning about. It’s the term used to describe when a person cannot afford or access sanitary products. Awareness of period poverty is growing, and steps are being taken to counter it, but period poverty is still a big issue that needs to be tackled.
phs are committed to ending period poverty in the UK and Ireland. We believe every woman should have access to free sanitary products – because they are a necessity, not a luxury.
To understand the problem, we undertook research and spoke to schoolgirls to find out more. This research found that 1 in 14 girls have missed school because they could not afford or access sanitary products.
Lockdown and Period Equality
In October 2019, phs secured a new contract with the Department for Education (DfE) to supply every school and college in England with free period products; helping to create period equality for all. This includes a range of tampons, menstrual cups, and single use or reusable sanitary pads.
Since January 2020, every school and college in England has had access to these products and by March 2020, 40% of eligible schools and colleges had placed their order. However, the Coronavirus Pandemic has had a negative impact on uptake and now that schools are reopened, we want to ensure no one misses out.
During the Coronavirus Pandemic lockdown, Plan International UK undertook research to see how girls were managing in this unprecedented time. Sadly, the study found that 3 in 10 girls have struggled to afford or access the sanitary products they need during lockdown.
It also found that over half these girls were having to use toilet roll to manage their period, which became even harder during lockdown because of the toilet roll shortage and lack of open public toilets. The stress of having no access to products is having a negative impact on the well-being of these young girls which could cause them to become withdrawal from school and other activities that they should be able to enjoy without any worry.
Now that schools have reopened, we have an opportunity to help stop period poverty and provide girls with the products that they need to live healthy and happy lives. Our mission is to ensure that every eligible schools signs up for the scheme to help end period poverty amongst their students!
How to access free products
To access free products, eligible English schools and colleges should have received an activation email from phs Direct, which includes information on how to log on to the portal and order.
If they can’t find the email or need additional support, schools and colleges can get in touch with phs Direct by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling the helpline on 01827 255500.
What about the rest of the UK and Ireland?
We are working closely with the Department for Education and the Welsh Government to create a Period Poverty/Dignity Taskforce, which brings together campaigners, organisations, experts, governments and local authorities with one common goal; eliminating period poverty.
While we do not currently provide free products to schools outside of England, we can still supply a range of products including sanitary pads, tampons, sustainable reusable pads and menstrual cups. Our free-vend sanitary machine also provides a convenient and discreet way to provide period products to those who need them, without the embarrassment or inconvenience of having to speak to a teacher.Get In Touch