Period Poverty has received a lot of news coverage recently on the back of Philip Hammond’s funding announcement, but what exactly is it and what can be done to tackle it?
What Is It?
Put simply, Period Poverty refers to a lack of access to period products (also referred to as menstrual hygiene products), mainly attributed to financial constraints . Geographically, it is a far-reaching issue, with Freedom4Girls (one of a number of charities working in this space) running projects across Africa as well as in the UK. Experiencing Period Poverty can also have wide-ranging consequences, including anxiety, depression and social stigma. All of these can compromise the education of school-age girls who suffer bullying as a result and feel too embarrassed to attend school. The effects on mental health and attendance indicate that this issue has deep ramifications and involves more than a lack of available period products, meaning any solution needs to be equally holistic and dignified .
What Is Currently Being Done?
Over the past few years there has been a huge increase in organisations looking to tackle Period Poverty. From schools and councils to football clubs and private businesses, more and more people have committed time and resources to the fight against it. The prevalent method has so far been to place baskets containing free products in communal washroom areas so that people can take what they need free of charge. While this is a great first step towards tackling the issue by fulfilling the basic requirement of providing free menstrual hygiene products, this basket scheme does little to assuage the other side-effects of Period Poverty, namely the embarrassment of not having ready access to these essential products. A true solution to Period Poverty ideally needs to be one which considers the privacy and discretion of the user, and avoids the indignity of having to access products in communal areas of the washroom.
Drawing on our years of experience in the Washroom Vending sector, Initial has created a bespoke, hygienic, in-cubicle Period Dignity vending dispenser. Housed in a compact unit, typically located alongside the toilet roll holder, female washroom users who cannot afford them or who have simply been caught unaware are provided with easy, free and most importantly, private, access to sanitary products.
- In Cubicle Dispensers – By installing the dispenser in the cubicle, the user is able to take the required products in private. This removes any potential embarrassment that the user may feel.
- Recognised Products – Our dispenser holds either Kotex towels or Tampax tampons. By using these premium brands, the user is re-assured that you are providing a quality solution to Period Poverty.
- Full Range of Refills – To save you time, we offer a full installation service of the dispensers, coupled with a full catalogue of products. So we can be your one-stop shop for providing Period Dignity products and solutions.
- Charitable Link – We have partnered with Freedom4Girls, a UK-registered charity actively supporting women and girls in both the UK and worldwide, who struggle to access or afford safe menstrual protection. For every Period Dignity Vending Dispenser installed by Initial Washroom Hygiene, the company is donating £5 to Freedom4Girls as well as an additional donation of £1 for every box of sanitary refills ordered for these units.
Since the launch of these Period Dignity units at the end of last year, we have installed over 500 of these in-cubicle dispensers across the UK. Our growing list of clients ranges from Scottish schools to the Blaenau Gwent area of Wales’ Anuerin Bevan University Health Board. Where, after completing installations across a number of their GP surgery and hospital sites, we attended their launch event and received the below feedback:
“Initial have been very helpful in helping us to tackle Period Poverty in the Blaenau Gwent area. Their cubicle dispensers provide a discrete and dignified way of dispensing free menstrual products across our estate” – Ian Haywood, Aneurin Bevan University Health Board
Please feel free to contact us and we will be more than happy to help you tackle period poverty.