A new period equality charter has been launched in Sheffield in an attempt to stop period poverty and smash the stigma around menstruation and the menopause.
The motion put forward by Councillors Jayne Dunn and Julie Grocutt in November was officially launched on Tuesday, March 7 as local groups and organisations came together to progress and discuss the charter and what it should include.
The charter will explore ways to supply free period products in all pubic buildings, call on schools to join the Governments free period product scheme, develop a ‘menstrual leave’ policy and create a supportive workplace model which local business and organisations will be encouraged to implement.
Coun Dunn and Grocutt were alarmed to find that in the worst cost of living crisis in 40 years, a poll of 1,000 UK girls aged 14-21 revealed over one in four are struggling to afford period products and nearly one in five report being unable to afford them.
Coun Dunn said: “I think its about levelling the playing field, its long overdue and period inequality shouldn’t exist and can be quite easily sorted. Its come to light very much during the cost of living crisis and the actual cost of having a period.
“Its about everything, its improving health, its about pure equality, its about smashing stigma.”
The charter will also adopt a more progressive and inclusive approach to supporting those experiencing menopause by incorporating GMB Menopause Smash the Stigma Workplace Policy.
The policy includes training managers and staff on issues around menopause, carrying out risk assessments which take into consideration the specific needs of menopausal women, and providing a confidential point of contact who women can speak to for support.
The movement also called on the chief executive to write to the Minister for Women and Equalities, calling on the UK government to make period products free and available to those who need them across England to make the country period poverty free by 2025.
Coun Dunn added: “The government said they were going to eradicate period poverty, it seems to have been pushed on the back burner.
“We can’t wait for them, we can be the first city in the country to have a period equality charter that will end the shame and the sniggering so no one is left behind or held back by there period. The fact we have period poverty is immoral.”
Read more about the Period Equality Charter here.