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Locked out

Aoife, from the UK

Locked out

It’s time to stop locking girls out of school toilets when they have their period

Around the world, girls and other menstruators face shame and stigma when they get their period – including right here in the UK. And as our latest research shows, their experiences at school are contributing to a culture of embarrassment that they have to face, every month.

They’re having to ask their teachers if they can go to the toilet, in front of their whole class. Often, they’re being told they can’t leave the room – even if they explain that they have to go because they have their period. And when they can get to the toilet, they might well be missing the essential facilities they need to manage their period properly.

With young people’s wellbeing, their education and their success at school at stake, we believe things have to change. That’s why we’ve launched our Menstrual Manifesto and identified the key steps that must be taken to end period taboos and improve young people’s experiences of having their period, including at school.

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Almost 70%of girls aren’t allowed to go to the toilet during school lesson times

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16% of girls have missed school because they were on their period and worried they wouldn’t be allowed to use the toilet

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Almost two thirdsof girls are worried about leaking in class when they have their period

Ambrin is a member of our Youth Advisory Panel
“We’re not meant to go to the toilet in lesson time, and we haven’t got any working sanitary pad or tampon machines in our school,” says Ambrin, a member of our Youth Advisory Panel.

'CERTAIN TEACHERS WON’T LET US GO TO THE TOILET'

Menstruation discrimination and a lack of hygiene products are a barrier to gender equality. 

Not being able to go to the toilet can leave girls and other menstruators worrying about staining their clothes, distracting them from their studies, while not having the facilities they need can lead to isolation and embarrassment.

To change this, we need to tackle period taboos everywhere and start speaking openly about periods – including at school.

STAND WITH BRAVE GIRLS

JOIN OUR BECAUSE I AM A GIRL CAMPAIGN

YOUR VIEWS ON BEING LOCKED OUT

To mark Menstrual Hygiene Day 2018, we took to the streets to ask what you think about girls and other menstruators being locked out of their school toilets when they have their period.

This is what you told us.

Our Menstrual Manifesto – in a minute

Our Menstrual Manifesto details the steps we can all take to end the shame and stigma surrounding periods.

Find out what it's all about in just one minute with Lucy Russell, our Head of Girls’ Rights and Campaigns.

WHAT OUR MENSTRUAL MANIFESTO MEANS FOR SCHOOLS

We want to work with teachers and schools to make sure that:

  • every school in the UK provides free access to toilets
  • unisex, accessible, boys’ and girls’ school toilets include at least one toilet with a sink in the cubicle and have enough bins for disposable menstrual products
  • every school can support its teachers to speak about periods and puberty without embarrassment or shame
  • primary schools are able to accommodate the needs of those who start their period early
  • all primary and secondary schools offer integrated classes for girls and boys to learn about periods

STAND WITH BRAVE GIRLS IN THE UK

Join our Because I am a Girl campaign

*All statistics taken from an Opinium online survey of 1,004 girls aged 14 to 21, between 23 February and 2 March 2018.