Periods don’t stop for pandemics, and neither does the fact that women and girls across the UK will inevitably be facing period poverty during the Coronavirus Pandemic.
Social enterprise Hey Girls’ mission since being founded in 2018 is to eradicate period poverty in the UK, something which will become harder once the true economic impact of Covid-19 becomes clear.
Since 2018, Hey Girls has been working with local authorities, schools and colleges in Scotland and since 2020 in Wales to deliver free period products to students, constituents and service users. Products were made widely available in 2020 in Scottish public spaces.
As soon as the lockdown came into place, Hey Girls had to be innovative to make sure that products were able to reach those in need in a different way. Working with local authorities, schools and colleges they have been delivering home packs directly to people’s homes during the pandemic, initially with enough products to provide period protection for 3 months.
Before the global pandemic, a study by Plan UK found that 1 in 10 girls and women in the UK are currently unable to afford period products from month to month resorting to sometimes using household items like socks, toilet roll or newspaper.
Since 2018 Hey Girls has been working with 37 local authorities, this new partnership innovation with 7 local authorities and 12 universities, colleges and initiatives UK wide has seen 3667 individual home packs sent directly to people’s properties during Covid-19.
Not only have the home packs meant that more women and girls have access to period products, but many councils and education settings have opted for offering reusable products to their service users. This has seen a rise in people trying more sustainable and environmentally friendly methods to manage their periods.
Shelley Hague – Strategic Policy and Planning Manager at Angus Council said: “Angus Community Planning Partnership have the aim to eradicate period poverty in Angus by 2021 – the partnership with Hey Girls has ensured that even through these difficult times we have been able to send out products to those most in need which has been extremely well received from the local people in Angus.”
Recipient of period products in Angus said: “Thank you so much for sending products, I was so worried about getting them as I can’t leave the house.” Another also said: “This is a god send – I have four daughters and we all need products and I have limited access to the shops.”
Celia Hodson, Founder Hey Girls said: “We don’t believe anyone should be denied access to period products, during a global pandemic or not. Access to period products is a human right, yet sadly there is still work to be done across the UK to recognise this.
It’s been incredible to witness, however, the acknowledgement from so many local authorities and educational institutes that this issue is so important, especially during Covid-19. Working with our partners to provide period protection during the Coronavirus Pandemic hopefully means that women and girls in these settings have one less thing to worry about and can feel confident whilst on their periods.”
We are working to expand this initiative across the UK, and welcome the opportunity to work with new councils, schools and colleges to keep everyone period protected during Covid-19.”