Girls that menstruate and do not have access to affordable period products tend to miss out on five days of school or work, and they end up two months behind their non-menstruating peers over the course of a year.
This is widely known as period poverty, and the U.K. realized that this was a huge problem in schools about three years ago. So, the country decided to take action, and they announced a government program that would make period products free in schools across the U.K. As reported by the BBC, that program has finally come into effect.
The schools receive a certain “period product budget” and they can choose to spend this budget on a diverse range of available period products. The budget must be used entirely on period products, and it cannot be redirected to anything else. The products that are included in the program include single-use and reusable pads, applicator and non-applicator tampons, and even menstrual cups.
The school administration officials just have to log on to their online system and commission a new delivery of the products, which makes placing orders a very easy process.
The budget that has been pre-determined by the U.K. government for 2020 is based on the assumption that about a third of all students who menstruate will use the free period products. However, since the prices for menstrual products may vary, it will be up to individual schools to choose how they will spend their money, and on what products.
The discussion of period poverty was first started up in the U.K. by then-17-year-old Amika George. She was trying to raise awareness about the issue and develop a policy to solve it, and now, three years later, she has finally transformed her advocacy into actionable legislation.