News | 27.05.22

‘Unacceptable’ period poverty problem feared to worsen during cost-of-living crisis

Day and Night Period Pads

The head of Hey Girls has said it is “unacceptable” that almost one in five young girls have struggled to afford period products since the start of the cost-of-living crisis.

Celia Hodson, Founder & CEO at Hey Girls, which aims to combat period poverty, made the comments after shocking statistics revealed 19% of girls between 14-21 have struggled to afford products since the start of 2022.

It is feared the figure could worsen should the cost-of-living crisis not be addressed.

She said: “It is unacceptable that almost one in five young girls are now struggling to pay for such a basic necessity as period products. No-one should be left to struggle to pay for something perfectly natural – pads and tampons are not a luxury.

“People are having to turn to unsafe alternatives during their period because they can’t afford to buy food or pay their bills. That is never ok. Our family has experienced period poverty and it is an ordeal we would never wish on anyone.

“It is vital that more is done to help young people and ensure they can live their life without the fear of having to use unsafe and unsanitary alternatives during their period.”

The poll of 1,000 UK girls aged between 14-21, carried out by children’s charity Plan International UK, revealed 28% struggle to purchase period products, while 19% reported being unable to afford products since the start of 2022.

Young people without access to period products regularly miss out on school, with one in 10 UK girls missing out on their education because they cannot afford them.

The figures have been echoed by further research by Water Aid, which revealed 24% of women in the UK and their families have struggled to afford period products in the last year.

Many feel forced to use unsafe products such as socks, bread and newspaper as a result.

Hey Girls, founded by Celia Hodson and her daughters Kate and Bec in 2018, operates on a “buy one, donate one” model – with every box of products purchased matched with a donation to community partners.

More than 21 million products have been donated to community partners in that time, including women’s refuges, foodbanks and homeless shelters.

Hey Girls products are designed to be safer for use than most well-known brands, which often use harmful chemicals such as bleach, toxins and perfumes.

Find out more about how we work with our Community Partners to end period poverty in the UK.