Last week Womans Hour featured a charity worker talking about women and girls in the UK struggling to afford menstrual products, and how girls in particular are missing school because of it.
From BBC (14/03/17) “Girls in the UK are missing school because they cannot afford sanitary protection, a charity has said.
Freedom4Girls was contacted by a school in Leeds after it became concerned about teenage girls’ attendance.
The group provides sanitary products to women in Kenya – but is now doing the same in West Yorkshire.
One teenager told the BBC she taped toilet roll to her underwear and missed school “every month” because of her period.
Two teenage girls spoke to BBC Radio Leeds about how they tried to cope without tampons, sanitary towels or pain relief.
One of the girls said: “I wrapped a sock around my underwear just to stop the bleeding, because I didn’t want to get shouted at. And I wrapped a whole tissue roll around my underwear, just to keep my underwear dry until I got home. I once Sellotaped tissue to my underwear. I didn’t know what else to do.
“I kept this secret up until I was 14 years old and then I started asking for help.
“I didn’t get any money because my mum was a single parent and she had five mouths to feed, so there wasn’t much leftover money in the pot to be giving to us.”
She had started her period at the age of 11. She said she would take a few days off school every month.
Another teenager said: “When I went on my period I started taking time off school, because I didn’t know what was actually going on with my body. That made my attendance really low and I was getting in trouble.
“One day the teachers came to my house and asked why I’m not at school and they actually took me to school.
“I thought it was only happening to me… so I was scared and I wanted to stay at home.”
She said she had an “amazing” teacher who helped her through everything, from family problems to periods. “