Period Poverty

Period poverty and how you can help

Period poverty is in the news and rightly so.

Period poverty

Did you know that British women spend around £19,000 on period products? This includes the cost of tampons, towels, pain relief and underwear.

If we take a woman who menstruates for 40 years that works out at about £475 which depending on your circumstances might not seem like loads of money. I would argue that sanitary protection is a basic need and that poverty should not stop you having it.

Let’s empathise

If you have ever started your period unexpectedly, you will know how embarrassing it is to have stains on your clothing or to leave a mark on a chair.

If we are honest we also know that sanitary products vary enormously in terms of efficacy and much of that is based on the price you pay.

Food or sanitary protection?

If you are mum and it is a choice between feeding your children or not having adequate sanitary protection, what will you do? We know the answer is probably feed the children but what if you need to work and have no sanitary protection and are on your period?

Earlier this year a pilot scheme in Aberdeen was launched to provide free sanitary products to women and girls from low income households, in a bid to tackle period poverty. Lucky Aberdeen but what about the rest of us?

We should be better than this!

It really gets to me that we seem to be no further forward than when my mother started her periods back in the Thirties. She told me she would try and make pads out of sheets of toilet paper.

It is great that food banks are now often encouraging donations of sanitary protection products from members of the public. A lot of us could afford two packets instead of one when we buy sanitary towels or tampons. It could make all the difference to the dignity of a woman and the emotional wellbeing of a family that is struggling. Should women really be reduced to using tissues, newspaper or socks in their knickers to mop up blood from what is a perfectly natural and important bodily function?

What about the girls who can’t go to school because they have no sanitary protection. Education if often the route out of poverty so that’s a real curveball. You want to go to school to escape poverty but you can’t because you are on your period and have no protection because you are poor.

Let’s take action!

Wouldn’t it be great if every blogger or blog reader that could buddied up with a woman or family affected by poverty to offer a monthly supply of sanitary product? As blogs so often give women a voice, it would be great to see bloggers coming together to do something on this issue.

In the meantime, check out Amika George’s #FreePeriods campaign and sign the petition unless you would ever love to be poor and have blood streaming down your legs?

What are your views on period poverty?

You may like to check out this advice on how to talk to a girl about her period.


Award-winning writer, blogger, social media consultant and charity campaigner. Social Media Manager for BritMums, the UK's largest parent blogging network Freelance clients include Firefly Communications and Save the Children UK. Works with brands on marketing projects. Examples include Visit Orlando, Give As You Live, Coca-Cola and Kodak. Cambridge Law graduate with many years experience working across three sectors in advice, media relations, events, training and project management. Available for hire at affordable rates.


  • Kim - Raising a Ragamuffin

    This is an issue I’ve come across recently and intend to write my own blog post on it in the very near future. It’s shocking that some women are forced to choose between feeding their children or buying sanitary protection. I have also read recently that many teenage girls are missing school every month because they can’t afford sanitary products, some are even using newspapers and the like instead and are risking infection. It’s just horrific in this day and age that people are living in such poverty and that once again it’s the people born female that suffer. #BloggerClubUK

  • The Rhyming Mum

    It must be so difficult to be in a situation where you can’t afford something you so desperately need. Periods are hard enough as it is without the extra worries! #dreamteam

  • Annette, 3 Little Buttons

    This is an absolutely dreadful issue and one that we shouldn’t have at all! I think it’s appalling that there isn’t something more that can be done, without causing embarrassment or making it a ‘thing’. If only there was a way for packages to be readily available. A discreet pick up from the chemist or doctors surgery. A supermarket with a discreet voucher UK-wide. Thanks so much for sharing with the #dreamteam Kate. xx

  • Debbie

    Hi Kate, this is a fantastic idea. I begrudged buying sanitary products so much that 15 years ago I tried a menstrual cup and loved it so much I have never looked back. It cost me about £20.00, but I’m still using the same one now. I do buy panty liners, but a box lasts a long time now that I can’t begrudge the cost. At the moment my daughter uses regular period wear, but when she’s ready I hope she’ll turn to using a menstrual cup too.


  • Sadie | Be Your Own Example

    It’s such an upsetting issue, especially when you consider homeless women and the issues of hygiene. I don’t understand how in this country we can hand out free condoms (which I also support) but there is no provision for free sanitary protection…particularly when sex can be abstained from, but periods can’t.

  • Simone Ribeiro

    That is a very serious post and all women should be aware of this problem. Unfortunately, sanitary products are not affordable to everyone and it would be wonderful if everyone could try their best to help the ones who can`t afford them. I also heard good things about the menstrual cups. Maybe it is time to try it! Thanks for your concern about serious issues like this one, kate.

  • Jo - Pickle & Poppet

    This is one of the things I hate buying the most but I take it for granted that I can. It is horrendous to think that some ladies are unable to have this basic sanitary product. It would be great if we could do what Aberdeen are doing #ThatFridayLinky

  • Lisa Pomerantz

    When forced to consider feeding your kids or tampons, it is understandable the choice that is made. This is a very empowering post — eye-opening. Thank you for raising awareness. #ablogginggoodtime xoxo

  • Mackenzie Glanville

    So glad you are raising awareness and calling us all into action, I can not imagine not being able to afford sanitary care, and with two daughters the thought of not providing for them once they reach that stage would be mortifying for me. Thank you for sharing this post with us #abloggingggodtime

  • Becky, Cuddle Fairy

    I saw a show recently that talked about this and it’s something I hadn’t considered before! It really is an awful thought that there are women without sanitary products. I will go sign the petition. Thanks for joining us at #BloggerClubUK x

  • The Pramshed

    I totally agree with you that sanitary protection should be given out free to low income household, as it can work out expensive every month. I will definitely be signing the petition, as I couldn’t imagine not having sanitary protection myself. Thanks so much for linking up at #fortheloveofBLOG. Claire x

  • jenny walters

    I hadn’t considered this before. What an important point. Periods are shit enough without having to worry about having enough pads etc. I will look out for how to help.#brillblogposts

  • Annabel

    Thanks for this. I’ve just emailed Sainsbury’s to check how I can donate to food banks when I shop online. I try to remember to donate when I’m in a supermarket but I tend to do online food shopping. It would be great to make a donation every time.

  • Sarah

    This is something I have heard about but didn’t realise was such a problem for lots of women. It really shouldn’t be a problem should it, periods are hard enough without the worry that you can’t afford sanitary products. Thanks for linking this up with #thursdayteam and it’s also one of my favourite posts from last week.

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