5,000 signatures reached
To: Department of Education & NI Executive
Free period products in NI schools #MenstruationMatters
We are calling on Minister Peter Weir from the Department of Education to bring NI in line with the rest of the UK and finally provide free period products in all school toilets, to alleviate the issue of period poverty and to meet the menstrual needs of all school girls.
Why is this important?
Unlike England, Scotland and Wales, NI still does not have a budget or scheme in place for free period products in all school toilets. Yet again, we have been left behind.
Schools already provide free toilet roll, hand soap, hand towels and sanitary waste disposal bins in toilets. What makes period products any different? We firmly believe that any toilet that requires toilet roll, requires period products in exactly the same way.
In June 2020, a Plan international UK study showed how 3 in 10 UK girls have struggled to afford or access sanitary wear during lockdown, with over half (54%) of these girls having used toilet paper as an alternative.
There is no doubt that period poverty has been exacerbated as a result of the current pandemic and the need to maintain good hygiene has never been more important. Due to extensive job losses, an increase in people using food banks, and many other local support services being cut, families have been hard hit and are under more financial pressure than ever. At the Homeless Period Belfast, we have seen an exponential increase in demand and requests for our own period packs. In April – June 2020 we received 3 times the demand than previous years.
Now, more than ever, a free period products scheme in schools across NI will relieve the financial pressure on parents and students purchasing these items. It will also alleviate the pressure of school students having to remember to carry period products in their bags when there are many other things to worry about and remember to bring (exams, books, homework, hand sanitiser/masks, bus passes etc.), meaning students can go about their daily lives without getting caught out.
Free period products in schools will ensure that every young person can learn and be their very best, without the worry of their next pad or tampon holding them back.