Last week Labour MP Danielle Rowley spoke on Period Poverty in parliament, shocking some with her announcement that she was currently on her period and with how much it had cost her that month. The reaction to that has mainly been disbelief that anyone could possibly spend £25 on a period.
Like most things women will experience periods in different ways. There are those lucky enough for it to be a mere blip on their radar, a minor inconvenience. Some will suffer but get along fine with some basic sanitary protection products and painkillers. Plus everything in between and up to those for whom a period can be horrendous and stop day to day activity.
I belonged to the last group, and was someone who easily spent more than £25 per period every time. This isn’t about gold plated sanitary protection, more than half that cost was on prescriptions to lessen the symptoms. A simple packet of sanitary towels or tampons was not enough, I’d easily go through two or three large packs of tampons and another two of towels. The extra washing of clothing and linens adds up too. I’ve not even factored in the costs of replacing ruined items, nor the days of work I lost as leaving the house was impossible whether through flow or pain.
It shouldn’t come as any surprise that some people are forced to spend more than others, yet it seems it has. The debate about whether the figure quoted was reasonable has also drowned out the fact that Period Poverty exists. For anyone struggling, even those who can get by on minimum sanitary protection products, the extra costs can be too much. Period Poverty will affect 1 in 10 girls in Britain and can be eased by providing free sanitary protection products in schools.