A month after Chancellor Philip Hammond announced funding for free sanitary products in secondary schools and colleges, the UK government has confirmed that free sanitary products will now be offered to girls in all primary schools in England from early 2020.
This is an effort to prevent females from missing school due to periods. Nadhim Zahawi, children and families minister said: “No-one should be held back from reaching their potential”.
Females can get their periods as young as 8 years old, therefore, it is necessary to include primary schools in the Free Periods scheme.
Plan International found that 1 in 10 girls can’t afford menstrual products, and 137,700 children in the UK have missed school because of period poverty.
The introduction to free sanitary products in secondary and primary schools enable women to make the most of their education. Without being concerned about where their next tampon will come from, females can concentrate on their studies and maximise their potential.
This would not only benefit the individual but entire societies. Equal access to education is crucial to a thriving society. Women need to have equal education opportunities in order to contribute to the workforce and bring essential brainpower to communities.
Project Drawdown found that the education of women and girls and family planning can significantly reduce the effects of climate change. Free period schemes can open up the conversation on periods and reproduction at a younger age. This can have an effect on fertility rates and population growth. Population growth equates to increase in demand for resources and resulting emissions. Therefore, giving women agency in regard to family planning has vast ramifications.
In summary, access to free sanitary products on a global scale would give women more agency and could significantly contribute to the reduction of climate breakdown.