Period poverty leaves millions of schoolgirls unable to compete in sports, study finds

Experts analysed the behaviour patterns of 500 girls, aged 10 to 18, found 26%are avoiding many social situations as a direct result of period poverty.

Lack of access to basic period products means one fifth of these youngsters are choosing not to go to friends’ houses or even see them, when on their period.

A further 25% will not visit the gym or participate in any sports when menstruating.

The research, by Always, revealed that 27% of girls avoid going out altogether once-a-month, as they, or their parents, do not have enough money to buy period products.

One in four have also found themselves in an embarrassing situation publicly because of their period, but had no means to get themselves the necessary products.

Steph Houghton, captain of the England women’s football team and Always Ambassador, said: “It’s really sad to hear that period poverty is not only affecting girls’ education, but it is also stopping them from taking part in the activities that they love.

“It was in after-school clubs that I found football and being part of a squad really helped build my confidence, introduced me to a new group of friends and shaped my future.”

However, the study found 48% of girls who have had some access to free period products while at school believe they have been able to take part in activities such as sports, which would have otherwise not been an option for them.

And six in 10 girls with access to free sanitary protection have at some point used the supply available to them.

In addition to polling girls, a study of 1,500 women was also conducted to find out what impact attending clubs and out-of-school activities had on their life.

In response to the research, Always and Tampax are donating products to after school clubs and UK Youth, a nationwide network of more than 3,500 youth organisations.

The brands hope that giving girls access to free period product out of term time, will allow them to take part in activities that build their confidence and help shape their future.

Ania Bielecka, senior communications manager at Always, added: “All girls should have access to the same opportunities in life and this includes extracurricular activities such as sport.

“The brand is committed to helping end period poverty which is why for every pack of Always or Tampax purchased in participating retailers, we will donate a period product to after school clubs and youth groups across the country.

“We hope this will give girls the freedom to take part in the activities that they love.”

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