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1 in 10 girls have been unable to afford sanitary wear, survey finds

1 in 10 girls have been unable to afford sanitary wear, survey finds

A new survey by Plan International UK has found that one in 10 (10 per cent) of girls have been unable to afford sanitary products.

The survey of 1,000 14 to 21 year old's also found that:

  • One in seven girls (15 per cent) have also struggled to afford sanitary wear
  • One in seven girls (14 per cent) have had to ask to borrow sanitary wear from a friend due to affordability issues
  • More than one in ten girls (12%) has had to improvise sanitary wear due to affordability issues
  • One in five (19%) of girls have changed to a less suitable sanitary product due to cost

Lucy Russell, Plan International UK's Campaign Manager, said: 

"We welcome proposals and new ideas to help tackle the fact that for too many girls, dealing with their period each month is proving a tough challenge. Distributing products at school, including reusables, could play a role in ensuring that no girl struggles to afford sanitary wear.

"But this is only one part of a wider solution to a complex problem. Girls, parents and schools need comprehensive menstrual hygiene management education and training to help tackle the stigma and embarrassment around menstruation that, along with cost, are at the root of the problems girls are experiencing. Many girls we have spoken to report that they have lacked the knowledge and understanding of how to manage their period, as well as in some cases the money. That is a real cause for concern if girls don't understand what's happening in their own bodies and what the social and emotional impacts of that are, as well as the physical. Proper education can help tackle that.

"In schools, distribution of sanitary wear should be accompanied by an end to policies which restrict girls' access to the toilets, notably during lesson time, and an end to a culture in which girls are too embarrassed to talk to school staff when they need to. Girls' periods are a fact of life and schools, as well as wider society, still need to adapt to that fact.

"And for parents, at present there is very little support out there to help them have productive conversations with their children about periods and their impacts. Creating easy access guidance is something we think could be easily rectified."