Welcome to Campaign Corner.
Our regular dialogue with you is about anything and everything relating to the world of work.
Each month we will post a topic, where we invite you to share your views with our team and community.
Here is our blogging plan for February - until further notice:
Period Poverty - responding to the latest government scheme in Scotland and England
Further to the Covid 19 pandemic, Ethical Employment is replaced by Wendy Williams’ - (Windrush) Lessons Learned Review published 27th March 2020 and available through the following link:
If you’d like to share your views on the review, email us here
Feel free to let us know if you have a workplace topic you’d like us to cover via our Message Box.
“…We need to organise in our workplaces, in our schools, in our hospitals and in our communities so that everyone has period dignity – so that every woman can access menstruation products freely at the point of need, wherever they are.”
Period poverty is the term used for the inability to acquire feminine hygiene products and the subsequent disruption it causes to attendance at school or work.
According to the Office of National Statistics (ONS),
there were 425,000 workers - aged 16 and above – earning less than the minimum wage. As two thirds of the UK workforce are female, that equates to at least 283,000 who are likely to experience period poverty at some point.
In England the first steps have been taken to recognising the impact of period poverty by funding the provision of sanitary towels in schools and colleges in England. Scotland are the world leaders with this initiative as they began this provision for all students in September 2019. They are now looking at extending the provision of free feminine hygiene products to all those who are in financial need. Discussions for similar plans in England are underway.
According to Sian Elliott of Trades Union Congress (TUC), “…We need to organise in our workplaces, in our schools, in our hospitals and in our communities so that everyone has period dignity – so that every woman can access menstruation products freely at the point of need, wherever they are.”
The United Nations defines adequate menstrual hygiene management as “women and adolescent girls using a clean menstrual management material … that can be changed in privacy as often as necessary for the duration of the menstruation period, using soap and water for washing the body as required, and having access to facilities to dispose of used menstrual management materials”.
Anyone interested in assisting their employers with the transition can contact any of the following organisations for advice:
The Red Box Project - http://redboxproject.org/
Hey Girls - https://www.heygirls.co.uk/
Sian Elliott (TUC Women’s Equality Policy Officer) - https://www.tuc.org.uk/person/sian-elliott
Your Workplace Health and Safety Officer or Trade Union Representative
Sian Elliott, 2019. It's time to break the taboo over periods and end period poverty. [Online]
Available at: https://www.tuc.org.uk/blogs/its-time-break-taboo-over-periods-and-end-period-poverty
[Accessed 8 February 2020]
* Photograph: Unsplash