England will provide free menstrual products to students

Starting in the 2019-2020 school year, England will provide free sanitary products to high school students.

Victoria Wystepek
Victoria Wystepek NewsMavens, Europe
England will provide free menstrual products to students - NewsMavens
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Why this story matters:

The move was inspired by a campaign called #FreePeriods, started by teenage student Amika George who wanted to help her fellow classmates who could not afford menstrual products.

A 2017 survey of 1,000 women and girls in the UK found that 10% were unable to afford sanitary products, 15% struggled to afford them and 12% made their own sanitary products.

In December 2017, over 2,000 people protested in central London to urge policymakers to provide free sanitary products for girls. 

Two years later, the Department for Education heeded these calls. Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond announced in his spring statement that the Department for Education will develop a program to provide secondary and college students, usually between the ages of 11 and 18, free menstrual products.

Dawn Butler, the shadow minister for women and equalities, lauded the decision.

She called it “a victory for all those who have campaigned for an end to period poverty.”

Details from the story:

  • Scotland was the first to launch such a program. In August 2018, they appropriated £5.2 million to provide free sanitary products to students at schools, colleges, and universities.
  • Earlier in March 2019, NHS England announced it would provide free sanitary products to patients who needed them.
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