Expensive, essential and – for many – a cause of embarrassment, stark figures illustrate the extent of period poverty in the UK.
Increasingly recognised as a public health issue, women’s rights group Plan International UK says 1 in 10 girls have been unable to afford sanitary products and 12 per cent have improvised – using socks, rags and toilet roll. Additionally, 137,700 girls missed at least one day of school last year because they couldn’t afford menstrual products.
Amid a groundswell of opposition around the affordability of period products one revolutionary campaigner front and centre of the fight – and now working with the Scottish Government – is Celia Hodson, from Dunbar in East Lothian.
With first-hand experience of the financial strain women across the country are experiencing, Hodson, with help from her two daughters, founded social enterprise Hey Girls, which sells sanitary towels on a ‘buy one give one model’ – meaning for every pack purchased, another is donated to a woman in need.
“It all started with a heated discussion between myself and my two daughters that results in a big hairy audacious goal,” Hodson told The Big Issue. “We simply wanted to work out if we could fix period poverty and what that would look like.”
The enterprise smartly bridges the gap between activism and retail, and since launching in January has achieved outstanding success. Hey Girls is a key partner in the Scottish Government’s period poverty roll-out – chairing round table events on the issue and donating towards the free provision of products to an estimated 18,800 Scottish women.
The enterprise is also the recipient of a £50,000 investment and mentorship from Big Issue Invest’s Power Up Scotland programme, a move that has helped bolster the social enterprise’s ability to grow.
And now we’re welcoming Hey Girls to The Big Issue Shop!
The no leak, super comfy, chlorine and bleach-free, environmentally friendly sanitary towels are available as a multipack including two boxes of Daytime and two Night time natural bamboo pads.