Life

5 things you can do to help combat period poverty during this pandemic

In partnership with
The Body Shop

There are some things that just don’t stop in a pandemic, and one of them is periods. This is how you can help those struggling to access period products throughout the crisis and beyond…

Periods have become political in the last couple of years, from fighting to end tampon tax to ensuring schools provide free menstrual products to students.

But while there has been some significant progress at a national level, period poverty still affects 10% of women in the UK who can’t afford period products while 15% of women have had to switch less suitable products due to affordability.

As coronavirus continues to change life as we know it and more people are affected by income insecurity, the problem isn’t going anywhere and could get worse.

No woman should be held back by her period and that’s more important than ever when so much of our lives are changing.

With that in mind, this is how you can help those who can’t access necessary products at the moment…

1. Donate

One of the most effective ways of helping those who need it is to donate products or money to charities who can supply products.

The Body Shop’s Period Product Donation initiative in partnership with Bloody Good Period was set up last May to allow you to make product donations in store or through the The Body Shop At Home network and has helped deliver thousands of menstrual supplies to people in need. In addition to this, the brand has funded three education programmes that provide free comprehensive education about female sexual and reproductive health to asylum seekers, and people that cannot normally access it.

In the absence of their stores being open and at a time when people are at an even higher risk of being unable to afford products, the brand is encouraging their customers to donate directly to Bloody Good Period.

You can make a one-off donation or sponsor a period every month and make all the difference to someone who dreads their cycle.

2. Sign petitions

If you’re someone who thinks one person can’t make a difference, petitions are here to prove you wrong.

The #EndTamponTax petition received 318,498 signatures and drove success, with the tax due to end in 2022 latest. Amika George’s petition to provide period products in schools received 157,000 and pushed the Chancellor to provide products in every English school.

Every signature counts, so next time you see a petition on Twitter, put your digital pen to digital paper.

3. Buy your products from brands that give back

Whether it’s shopping at places like The Body Shop who support the fight against period poverty and ending menstrual shame (and also have multiple initiatives to support women and female equality around the world) or choosing your own menstrual products from brands that donate for every purchase, your shopping habits can make a difference.

HeyGirls donates a period product for every product you buy, from period pants to reusable pads and menstrual cups that are all environmentally friendly.

Similarly, Freda was founded specifically to help women in need get access to period products and their 100% eco-friendly products are created by women for women, with a portion of every purchase donated to initiatives tackling period poverty.

4. Educate yourself

Almost all the activists we’ve spoken to, from Gabby Edlin (founder of Bloody Good Period) to Amika George (founder of Free Periods), have cited that as soon as they looked into the stats and research around the issue they were shocked and spurred into action.

Clue up at sources like Plan International and ActionAid and then…

5. Speak up

Whether it’s talking to your friends about it or shouting on your socials, the best way to raise awareness is to share what you know and what others can do to help too.

Products can help people who can’t afford them but they won’t solve the issue entirely unless we normalise the discussion around periods, get rid of the taboo and eradicate period shame that stops people asking for help - so speak up about that too.

Coronovirus might be affecting all of us right now in one way or another, but there are many having to choose between bleeding without protection and eating that day - and that’s a choice no-one should have to make.

The Body Shop has teamed up with Bloody Good Period to ensure that those who can’t afford period products have access to them throughout this pandemic and beyond.

In addition to that, donations from The Body Shop and their customers have resulted in 10,000 packs from The Body Shop at Home being donated so far to local charities and organisations including homeless, women’s refuges, asylum seekers and refugees. The Body Shop has also funded three Bloody Good Period education programmes – providing free comprehensive education about female sexual and reproductive health to asylum seekers, and people that cannot normally access it.

Support the partnership and those who need access to basic period essentials below.