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Addressing period poverty


Bloody Big Brunch, period poverty, Bloody Marys, Penny Morduant, taskforce, 2030, “There is no excuse not to act now.”

Bloody Big Brunch is one novel way to address period poverty; campaigners travel the UK hosting brunches, handing out Bloody Marys.

There’s just one string attached. You need to pay with period products.

All proceeds are then donated to a range of organisations across the country including The Red Box Project, Bloody Good Period, Girlguiding Scotland, the YWCA and Freedom4Girls.

On 3 March, they put on their biggest show yet – by asking people to host their own Bloody Big Brunch.


Over a quarter of women and young girls in the UK have been affected by period poverty.

The average spend on tampons and towels is £4,800 over a lifetime, but those in financial difficulty often pay a much higher price.

Unable to afford period products, 68 per cent women and girls have resorted to using old rags, toilet paper or newspapers as substitutes.

This leads to 137,000 girls missing school each year, not to mention embarrassment and illness – the impact is huge.

And period products are still taxed as a non-essential luxury item in the UK. Which is why the Bloody Big Brunch uses an actual luxury – brunching with a Bloody Mary in hand – to raise awareness of this important issue and to help implement change.

The campaign has three aims:

1) To remove stigma around talking about menstruation. This is a topic that should never be off the table at brunch, in the workplace, in schools, on television. Let’s get bloody talking about it. Period.

2) For the UK government to follow Scotland’s lead and provide free period products to women in need and in schools, colleges and universities.

3) For it to become commonplace for businesses to offer staff and customers free period products in toilets in the same way they currently offer soap and toilet roll.

The UK government has now announced it is making £2million available to support organisations around the world to end period poverty by 2030 – although how the money will be distributed globally was not made clear.

The minister for women and equalities, Penny Mordaunt, also announced £250,000 for the creation of ‘a taskforce comprised of government departments, businesses, charities and manufacturers’ to come up with new ideas to tackle the problem in the UK.

Lucy Russell, head of girls’ rights and youth at Plan International UK, told the Guardian: “We hope this welcome investment of resources will be used to address not just access to products, but the issues at the root of this problem – high-cost period products, lack of education and the stigma and shame that surrounds periods.

“Period poverty is both a cause and consequence of gender inequality and can have a serious impact on girls’ education. It’s therefore critical that efforts to tackle it are linked in with wider education programmes on sexual and reproductive health.”

And campaigners have criticised the absence of any immediate action from the government.

“Working towards 2030 for an international solution, means that another full generation of women and girls will continue to suffer period poverty in the UK, which is ridiculous,” Pam Scobbie, founder of the Bloody Big Brunch, told the Guardian.

“There is no excuse not to act now.”

Free period products could be placed in schools, colleges and universities within weeks if the government really wanted to tackle the problem.

Until then, campaigners still need your help.

Get behind Amika George and The Red Box Project #FreePeriods campaign by donating here.

#BuyOneGiveOne by shopping period products with Hey Girls here.

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