Ahead of a nationwide campaign in March, research published today has revealed that the issue of period poverty is more substantial than previously evidenced. Until now, the statistic of 1 in 10 women and girls in the U.K. being unable to afford menstrual products has been cited, but a new survey held by Ginger Comms, the Bloody Big Brunch and Hey Girls has shown that the figure is closer to 3 in 10 women (27%). 51% of the population (men and women) say that they have either had direct experience of period poverty, or know someone who has.
Of those who’d experienced period poverty:
- 1 in 4 bled through every day or most days of their period
- 68% have had to use a makeshift period product
- Almost half have worn menstrual products for longer than they should have.
- Over a quarter of schoolgirls and women affected have missed school or work because they’ve been unable to afford protection
Schoolgirls also said:
- That almost 90% of them wouldn’t want to let their teacher know they’re on their period but…
- Over 40% would play sport more if they felt more comfortable talking about menstruation
- More than a third of girls have had to educate themselves on periods and how they work.
The survey highlights significant embarrassment around periods across the board.
- Half of men said that they would never buy period products for their partners
- Over half (54%) of all people said that they felt uncomfortable talking about them generally
- 1 in 2 people would describe periods as unpleasant or disgusting.
However, across all genders and age groups, there is a desire for change. 85% would like to see a positive shift in attitude about periods, 85% think that period products should be available for free in schools and colleges – and 89% of people think that distributing period products at school is as or more important than the distribution of condoms.
More broadly, 65% think that period products should be available for free for all women and girls, regardless of income (55% men, 68% women) and 64% (52% men / 69% women) would like to see a more accurate representation of what it is like to have periods on television or in advertising.
In response, a host of organisations and individuals, including Hey Girls, Asda, Absolut vodka, Amika George, Stacey Solomon and Grace Woodward have come together to back the UK’s biggest-ever brunch, to be held on Sunday 3rd March, which is also the first weekend of Women’s History Month.
The Bloody Big Brunch promises to put the issue ‘firmly on the table’ by not only reducing embarrassment around periods but also by making it easy to send menstrual products to where they’re needed most.
As well as a dedicated London event to be held at the Book Club in Shoreditch, the public are being encouraged to host their own Bloody Big Brunch at home, serving Bloody (or Virgin) Marys to friends and family. But there’s a twist – guests should pay for their drinks with period products. By purchasing from the Hey Girls range on ASDA.com, donations are automatically doubled and distributed to charities around the UK, including The Red Box Project, Bloody Good Period, Girlguiding Scotland, YWCA and Freedom4Girls. The campaign aims for 300 brunches to be held and 10,000 women to be helped.
In addition, Bloody Mary recipes – outlining the ‘bloody disgrace’ of period poverty – will also be sent to key members of the U.K. Government as part of a wider lobbying campaign for lasting legislative #FreePeriod change. Indeed, 96% of people questioned believe that politicians should do more on the issue of period poverty.
Lee Beattie of the Bloody Big Brunch said:
“As a society, we need to send out the message that menstruation isn’t dirty and it certainly isn’t a luxury. That’s why the Bloody Big Brunch is important. It’s an accessible way to get involved and spread the word that period products are a basic essential – not nice-to-have.
“By using fun to highlight fundamental rights, we’re hoping that we can mobilise Westminster, who have been negligent on the issue of periods for far too long.”
Amika George, who kickstarted the Free Periods movement, said:
“The Scottish and Welsh Government have made history with their pledges of period provision for girls in schools, colleges and universities, but in England we’re being left behind. That’s why we are combining forces with the Bloody Big Brunch to take legal action against the government, to ensure every schoolchild gets access to the essential products that they need. Equal access to education is a fundamental human right and no-one should miss school because they cannot afford pads and tampons. I’ll be hosting the flagship Bloody Big Brunch in London , celebrating the incredible women in my life, breaking down the stigma around periods and raising awareness and donations for the Free Periods legal campaign. Let’s all raise a Bloody Mary and help change the lives of thousands of young girls.”
Stacey Solomon, was the first to sign up to become a host. She said: “I am so excited that the Bloody Big Brunch has gone national. It’s a hugely important issue – and this is an easy way for people to get involved. The seemingly small step of hosting a brunch has the power to make a big difference and I’m looking forward to playing my part.”
Celia Hodson, founder of Hey Girls, said:
“At Hey Girls, we believe in doing good, rather than giving shareholders a nice big profit. Our buy-one-give-one model means that for every box we sell, we already donate a box to a girl or woman in need in the UK. In the last year, we’ve donated 2.3 million products to 200 partners but participation in the Bloody Big Brunch will help accelerate the positive moves already being made.”
To sign up and take part, visit www.bloodybigbrunch.com.
The survey was held by Ginger Comms and Bloody Big Brunch. 1000 people were questioned across England, Wales and Scotland.