An award-winning social enterprise established to eliminate period poverty in the UK is set to go global after launching in Australia.
Hey Girls, which operates a ‘buy-one, donate-one’ model has donated over 18 million period products to people in need across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, is set to roll out its service across Australasia from a new distribution hub in Sydney, New South Wales. Celia Hodson, Founder & CEO unveiled the news at the 2021 Social Enterprise World Forum.
There is still a shame and stigma around the term ‘poverty’. Hey Girls wants to normalise asking for help and emphasise to people that you do not have to be facing extreme circumstances to access basic care. All of the profits from Hey Girls’ ‘buy one, donate one’ business model goes directly into funding the fight for equal periods. For every purchase made, Hey Girls donates an equivalent product to someone in need.
According to the Period Pride Report 2021, period poverty in Australia still needs urgent attention, affecting the unemployed, university and TAFE students, homeless people, those displaced due to domestic violence and the LGBTQIA+ community. The report highlighted:
- 40% of survey participants had changed to a less suitable period product due to cost
- 49% wore a tampon or pad for more than 4 hours because they didn’t have any more to use
- 22% had to improvise on period products due to cost
- 48% at least sometimes missed class due to their periods
- 65% at least sometimes missed sport because of their periods
- 40% at least sometimes called in sick to work due to their periods
- 51% at least sometimes missed out on socialising with their friends because of their periods
Celia Hodson, Founder & CEO of Hey Girls said: “Hey Girls exists purely to end period poverty and offer everyone a dignified period in the process. We have made significant progress in the UK but there is still more to be done globally. Our core goals with our new venture is to help eradicate period poverty in Australia, improve access to quality period products for everyone and increase awareness and education of period health.
“Recent findings suggest more than one in five Australians can’t afford period products. Period poverty impacts more than your physical health, with pupils missing school and staff missing work; it has a knock on effect to mental health and education too. People are using period products desperately, disregarding the health and safety instructions, because they don’t have enough products to get by.”
Bec Shutt, Australia Director for Hey Girls Australia added: “We treat every sale or donation with the same level of love and respect. So whether you’re purchasing our products online, supporting an independent eco store or receiving a donation from a local community organisation, we guarantee high quality, ethically sourced period products.
“Our launch will focus initially on reusable products, offering the most sustainable choice of protection in a variety of reusable pads, period cups and period pants. We will later introduce our fully biodegradable and naturally sourced disposable range of pads and tampons.”
Hey Girls was started in 2018 as a kitchen-table start up by social entrepreneur Celia Hodson and daughters Kate Smith and Bec Shutt, who had previously experienced period poverty first hand when the family were young.
Now with 18 employees and a multi-million pound turnover, Hey Girls has grown into a global operation with dispatch teams in both Scotland and Norfolk, was crowned Virgin StartUps Scottish Business of the Year and has attracted celebrity support from Michael Sheen and Caitlin Moran.
Hey Girls is stocked in Co-op, Waitrose and Asda, a network of eco-stores, social supermarkets and online. The social enterprise also supplies a range of local authorities, colleges and universities with period products that are distributed free of charge to residents and students.
You can visit the new Hey Girls Australia website at www.heygirls.com.au.