British Girls From Poorer Backgrounds Are Missing School Because Of Their Periods

For some UK girls, sanitary products are a 'luxury' they simply can't afford

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Just when Meghan Markle has decided to challenge the stigmatism that prevents girls in India who are on their periods from attending school, we've discovered that we could actually have a similar problem occurring on our home turf, here in the UK.

UK based charity, Freedom4Girls, works on a simple premise – that no one's education, regardless of finance or where they live, should be compromised because of restricted access to sanitary products.

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In 2017, 150 million women globally won't have safe, affordable access to sanitary products, making day-to-day life impossible for women on their periods.

For young girls in school, this means they're missing out on valuable lessons that their male peers don't have to sacrifice. Time missed is cumulative, and one UNESCO report suggests that it can add up to as much as twenty per cent of the school year.

Some girls drop out all together, leading to rising rates of child marriage and domestic abuse. Donations to Freedom4Girls go toward washable and reusable sanitary packs for schools in the developing world.

But recently, they've had to turn their attentions closer to home – more specifically, to the north of England, where teachers have reached out to the charity after discovering that regularly absent students were skipping school because of their periods, London newspaper The Metro reports.

After looking into why girls were skipping lessons, a high-school in Leeds found that for a proportion of their students living below the poverty line, their time of month was getting in the way of their education – which is no surprise when you consider that one 2015 survey put the cost of periods somewhere in the region on £20 a month.

And despite the best efforts 2015's #EndTamponTax campaign, EU law still dictates a 5 per cent tariff on our 'luxury' monthly products (Brexit's silver lining, perhaps?).

If you were looking for a new cause to support, Freedom4Girls is a pretty good one – in 2017, our bodies shouldn't be a barrier to what we can achieve, anywhere in the world.

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