March 8thmarked the celebration of International Women’s Day and we at Dr Julian would like to use this blog post to show our support for gender equality and celebrate everyone who identifies as female.
Following International Women’s Day, on March 9thit was announced that the government has made the decision to provide all secondary schools in England with free sanitary products for all anyone who faces financial troubles and cannot afford sanitary products as a result. Around 1 in 10 women aged 14-21 reported that they’re unable to afford sanitary products, making ‘period poverty’ a hardship affecting a large proportion of UK women.
How does this relate to mental health?
Many people across the world have experienced negative attitudes towards periods at some point in their life and while in this country attitudes are a lot better than some, we have a long way to go before periods are accepted as part of life and are no longer considered a ‘taboo’ topic. There are still many areas of the world that believe that periods are dirty and as a result, women and young girls are banished from their towns until the period has ended. In this country, many young people who have experienced period related struggles have faced these issues in school, with teachers refusing to allow them permission to go to the toilet and then being too embarrassed to say why they need to go or simply not having access to the products needed to continue with their school day comfortably. Allowing student to bleed through their clothing is not only wrong, but it takes away their dignity.
In January of 2019, one particular case hit the headlines when an 11-year-old school girl was repeatedly denied access to the toilet and as a result, bled through her clothes. The girl was “humiliated” and as a result did not want to attend school while on her period. Similarly, girls who cannot afford sanitary products often miss school in order to avoid the “humiliation” of bleeding through their clothes resulting in poor attendance and therefore lower achievement than they are truly capable of.
The government’s decision to provide schools and hospitals with free sanitary products for those who need them acknowledges the necessity of these products. They’re not luxury items but instead items that are required in order for individuals to feel comfortable, confident and allow them to achieve their full potential.
Skipping school and being bullied as a result of periods is not okay, and we’re glad that things are starting to change. If you or anyone you know has experienced negativity as a result of period related incidents and want to talk to someone about it, we’re here for you.
Featured Image curtesy of Periods in Poverty (https://www.facebook.com/pg/PeriodsinPovertyCardiff/photos/)