Pupils from a sample of Glasgow secondary schools have been working over the last few months on ways in which to reduce any stigma surrounding period poverty and plans for the roll out of free sanitary products in Glasgow’s primary and secondary schools.
The work and results of a survey carried out by female pupils from Hillpark Secondary, St Paul’s High, Castlemilk High and Smithycroft Secondary has now shaped the council’s policy on period poverty and empowering the audience intended to benefit.
As Councillor Jennifer Layden, City Convener of Equalities and Human Rights said: “This has been a brilliant piece of work by our pupils.
“What better way to tackle and issue than by empowering the very girls that will benefit from our policy. The girls looked at the specific issues relating to their school community, researched their audience and came up with viable solutions to any barriers they identified.
“Even in this day and age when no subject is seemingly taboo or off limits to young people – periods and sanitary protection can still be an embarrassing topic.
“And even more so if a young person finds themselves unable to afford the items every month.
“Our schools have always provided pupils with sanitary products if required – but our new policy means that a range of products will be on hand without the need to ask anyone.
“The bottom line of our policy is that we want schools to be flexible in the roll out and develop a process that works best for their school community.
“Having to miss school, college or university because you can’t affordproducts is against a women’s human right to access education.
“Glasgow’s policy will put a stop to this and means that any girl in our schools – regardless of their personal circumstances – will never have to suffer the stigma of this again.”
During the pilot, the council joined forces with Hey Girls – a Scotland based social enterprise company – who provided a range of products for the schools to try.
Hey Girls also produce a range of supplementary educational tools including booklets and posters that can be used as a learning resource in schools. Hey Girls products are eco-friendly, using sustainable materials, biodegradable wrapping and recyclable packaging, and are chlorine and bleach free. Reusable products, such as menstrual cups and reusable pads are also offered.
And in line with the council’s new policy, for every pack bought from the company, Hey Girls donate a pack free in order to tackle period poverty.
Celia Hodson, Founder of Hey Girls, said: “We are absolutely delighted to be working in partnership with Glasgow City Council in supplying period products to students across the city.
“Glasgow City Council has shown real commitment to tackling the problem of period poverty through their pilot project, and it’s commendable that they engaged the students themselves in designing how this roll out would work.
“We are really pleased to be extending the range of products on offer in Glasgow schools to include reusable menstrual cups and reusable pads, which are more sustainable for young people in the long term.
“As with all of our sales, we will match each box ordered by Glasgow City Council with another box donated by us, meaning that money goes much further as we strive to stamp out period poverty.”