The UK government has announced that as part of its efforts to tackle period poverty, all schools in England will provide free period products to all students starting from early 2020.
The plan comes after reports that some girls were unable to afford period products, leading to them missing school. The scheme ensures that every student in need has access to free menstrual products, including tampons and pads.
Under the new scheme, schools will be offered a range of products depending on student requirements, including eco-friendly options, which aim to reduce the impact of disposable products on the environment. The government has committed to providing £9m in funding to ensure the success of the initiative.
Period poverty affects thousands of girls in the UK every year. The high cost of menstrual products can make access to them difficult, particularly for families on a low income. The government’s decision to provide these products for free is intended to ensure that no child misses out on an education due to a lack of access to period products.
The announcement has been welcomed by various campaign groups, including Plan International UK and the Red Box Project. Plan International UK’s Chief Executive, Rose Caldwell, said: “This announcement is a fantastic step forward in the fight against period poverty. It’s absolutely essential that every single child in the UK has access to the period products they need to be able to attend school without interruption.”
The government’s decision follows Scotland’s landmark move in 2018, where it became the first country in the world to provide free period products in schools, colleges and universities. Other countries, including Canada, India and New Zealand, have since followed Scotland’s lead.
All schools must implement the new policy from early 2020, and the government will issue guidance on the scheme in the coming weeks.