#FreePeriods: It’s Time to Take Legal Action to End Period Poverty in the UK
Let the legal campaign begin!
This is incredible!
Kindness is everywhere.
In under one week and from pledges made by 399 AMAZING people we have reached our initial target of £10k, allowing us to take the next step forwards in our legal campaign. Thank you so much to everyone who donated, liked and shared our posts on social media . You are wonderful people! ❤️
Our Crowd Justice page is still very much live and we would love for more and more people to support our legal campaign but knowing we have hit our initial target so quickly is overwhelming in the best possible way and sets us on the path of building a robust case to bring to our government – asking them to fulfil their legal responsibility in ensuring that no young person misses out on their right to an education because they have their period. Break the inequality.
Today, Amika George, Founder of Free Periods and ‘period poverty’ activist, has announced a new legal campaign to provide free menstrual products to all schoolchildren. The campaign launches with a Crowdfunding drive to raise funds for exploratory legal work and in support of the broader legal campaign, with the requirement that £10k must be raised in 30 days for any of the pledges to be collected.
The Free Periods campaign, in partnership with the Red Box Project and supported by The Pink Protest, seeks to ensure that menstrual products should be freely available in schools to all children who need them. Access to education is a fundamental human right, and Free Periods believes that no child should be forced to miss school as a result of not being able to afford pads or tampons.
Free Periods is being advised by the human rights team at Law firm Hausfeld & Co. This new legal campaign follows the one year anniversary of the Free Periods protest to end period poverty, where over 2,000 people gathered outside Downing Street to call out the UK government’s failure to take action against period poverty.
In the UK, 49% of girls have missed an entire day of school because of their period, whilst 1 in 10 young women (aged 14-21) have been unable to afford period products. In London alone, 80,000 young women 1 and girls are affected by period poverty.
2018 saw significant progress for the cause in Britain, with the Scottish government becoming the first national government ever to provide free access to menstrual products in all schools, colleges and universities, whilst in Wales, the government pledged £1m to address period poverty. In England, we still have no policies in place.
The campaign also launches with a film made by Emmy-award winning filmmaker, Lina Plioplyte, featuring Amika and ten schoolgirls from London.
Amika George, Founder of Free Periods commented: “I am tired of the government’s inaction and so, just over one year on from our Free Periods protest to Parliament, I am proud to launch a legal campaign, calling on the UK government to provide free, universally accessible menstrual products in schools and colleges. With support from others, we are confident that we can bring positive change to our communities by offering young girls access to the menstrual products they need in order to participate in their education, which is their fundamental human right.”
Anna Miles, Co-Founder of the Red Box Project and director of Free Periods, added: “We are proud to provide thousands of schools with red boxes of free period products. This is made possible by the kindness and generosity bestowed upon us by local communities across the UK and the hard work of our over 200 volunteer coordinators. But access to education should not rely on the kindness of others. It is time for the government to step up.”
WHAT CAN YOU DO TO HELP? Share the CROWDJUSTICE PAGE: Share the FREE PERIODS POSTERS on social media and post about our goal.
Here is an example: ‘#FreePeriods launches new legal campaign to make sure that no child misses school because of their period. Be a part of this change. Find out how to get involved here: www.crowdjustice.com/case/freeperiods’
Visit the Free Periods website for more information on the campaign.
WHO ARE FREE PERIODS?
Amika George Amika founded #FreePeriods when she was 17. Now 19 and at university, she has received global recognition for her campaigning work, including receiving a Goalkeepers award by Bill & Melinda Gates, in conjunction with the United Nations, and was recently listed by TIME magazine as one of the 25 most influential teenagers in the world in 2018.
The Pink Protest
The Pink Protest is a community of feminist activists committed to engaging in action and supporting each other . Founded by Scarlett Curtis, Grace Campbell, Alice Skinner and Honey Ross, they organise events and campaigns allowing young people to get involved with real, grassroots activism.
The Red Box Project
The Red Box Project’s Anna Miles, Clegg Bamber and Gemma Abbott The Red Box Project is a national community project working to provide free access to period products in local schools. The Red Box Project has over 200 projects run by volunteer coordinators across the UK and is committed to supporting young people to access period products until the government steps in.
Janvi Patel Chairwoman and co-founder of Halebury , a pioneering NewLaw firm, and advisory board member of Equality Now.
For further information on the campaign, please contact Amika George at firstname.lastname@example.org
I, Daniel Blake – On BBC Two at 9.45 pm Monday 5th January 2019.
‘If you’re not angry, what kind of person are you?’ Director, Kenneth (Ken) Loach offering out the question we should all be asking.
It is never about turning a blind eye.
If you haven’t already immersed yourself with the masterpiece that is: I, Daniel Blake then we beseech you to watch, record and allow yourself to be confronted with the stark reality that our country finds itself in today; spiralling out of control for so many, too many people, in our society.
Every stranger is a friend you have yet to meet. When you psychologise it in that sense, difficult times can occur in a split second and completely out of your control to your family, friend or neighbour. Ignorance is definitely NOT bliss.
Everyone who supports us – thank you for placing yourself in another person’s shoes and reinforcing how important it is to have a society built on morals that are positive, kind and caring.
The Red Box Project started 21 months ago, in Portsmouth, and now has
2,000 active Red Boxes in schools and other educational settings across the UK,
ensuring young people have access to menstrual products whenever they need them
– no questions asked.
How does it work?
The Red Box Project encourages individuals in the local community to
support a Red Box in a school near them, working together to keep it filled
with period products and spare underwear.
The Red Box is easily accessible through appropriate members of staff
and plain bags are included for discretion. Posters placed in lavatories and changing rooms signpost the box, its
contents and location. Access to the Red Box is available to everyone, no
Open discussions are encouraged between teachers and students about the
subject of periods generally, and the availability of period products via the
Red Box specifically.
Why is it needed?
Period poverty is prevalent. The latest research from children’s charity Plan International UK
reports that one in 10 young women (aged 14-21) have been unable to afford
period products. And poverty is just one issue that may affect a person’s access to period products. There
are varied social and cultural reasons why products might not be available at
home, many of which are linked with the stigma that persists around
Overstretched teachers already take on the responsibility of helping
pupils in need and schools keep small stocks of menstrual items for
emergencies. The problem is that limited
budgets mean they are usually able to hand out just a couple at a time,
sometimes even having to charge students per product.
The Red Box supports young people throughout their period with as many menstrual
products as they need, plus the added reassurance of a few left over to prevent
a panic next month. Of course, periods happen during the school holidays too
and so students are encouraged to take extra for times when school is closed.
Coordinators also place Red Boxes in appropriate settings such as youth
clubs, libraries and church halls which are accessible all year round. This is
what makes the project special.
What is the impact?
No tearful panics in the loo. No
wrapped-up toilet roll. No anxious
embarrassment. No missed lessons or
staying at home.
No missed education.
The Red Box Project is powered by community kindness and focused solely
on supporting young people. It is designed
to be a simple, no frills scheme to meet a need with minimal fuss.
Castle View Academy in Portsmouth has said since the scheme was introduced it had helped increase attendance levels by nearly a third. [https://goo.gl/ki7tV5]
Anna Miles, Co-founder of the Red Box Project, commented:
“A young woman’s education will shape her future. We are determined that this will be the last generation of girls to suffer the indignity and embarrassment of period poverty.
“When we started this project, the need for the provision was clear to us. Within 3 months we had 6 boxes and by the end of 2017, 9 months in we had 35 boxes. By the end of 2018, just one year later, we will have over 2000. It’s incredible.
“The support we have received to date has been amazing. If you want to get involved in providing menstrual products to young people in your community, please do get in touch with us. We would love to hear from you”
A teacher from a school that has a Red Box commented:
“Our girls are no longer whispering, ‘miss, do you have some pads’. Our girls are not having to decide between buying lunch or sanitary protection. They feel loved and supported”
To coordinate or support a Red Box please contact us:
The Red Box Project is a not-for-profit, community based initiative. We are run by the community for the community. Our focus is on ensuring that young people access the education they deserve by providing red boxes filled with free menstrual products to schools across the UK and overseas.
For anyone wishing to learn more about the impact this project has, please take a couple of minutes to watch this video via BBC News.
Some quotes from the piece:
“Being able to access products at school has boosted attendance.”
“The girls well-being has increased and they are more comfortable being in school now.’ – Janette, Welfare and Medical Officer Castle View Academy Portsmouth.
“Teachers at Castle View Academy has said that the number missing school has dropped by a third.”
Having visited Castle View Academy Portsmouth, a school supported by The Red Box Project and our Red Box Project – Portsmouth North coordinator, Rebecca Cave, I had the pleasure of meeting these incredible young women who were interviewed. A special thank you to them, Jeanette and Sarah, who works for the BBC and constructed this piece with real sensitivity.
Thank you to everyone who supports The Red Box Project – we could not do any of this without your kindness.
Girl. We’re with you.
We’ve got your back as you go to school.
As you learn.
As you play.
As you make friends.
As you strengthen your body and sharpen your mind.
As you grow older and grow up and grow ready for the world that’s waiting for you.
As you get the skills you need to become doctors, teachers, presidents, lawyers, engineers, architects, designers, chefs, professional footballers, actors, train drivers, journalists, entrepreneurs, coders.
You, girl, are incredible.
We’ve got your back.
We’re there with you.
Every day, every month.
We’ll help make sure you don’t miss a day of school.
We’ll help make sure you’re ready.
On International Day of the Girl, the UN is calling for help to ensure the world creates a skilled girlforce. Help us smash gender inequalities in schools and ensure that every single girl in this country reaches her potential, by giving her access to products to help her manage her period.
Donate products. Volunteer your time. Share this post.
We are very lucky to have Andover supported by our volunteer coordinators Michelle and Niki.
“The response has been overwhelming, I didn’t ever think I would get excited about a delivery of sanitary towels and tampons! I’ve found myself dancing around my kitchen in victory when I’ve opened an email from a school asking for a box.
“It is however bittersweet because there shouldn’t be the need in the first place and it breaks my heart to think of young women and girls out there struggling month on month to deal with a natural part of life.”
Read more about their journey in to The Red Box Project and the work they are doing to tackle ‘period poverty’
They are really keen to gain support in the local community in the shape of donation drop off points. If you are a local business/community space/club etc and think you can help please do head over to their Facebook page
We are overjoyed that The Red Box Project is being used to support young women across the waters in New Zealand.
The concept of our project is and always will be to invite everyone in to an initiative that can be easily replicated and shared as well as and most importantly of all, offering the same support we provide to our young people here in the UK.
It is clear that the issues around ‘period poverty’ are not isolated to one particular area of the world and it gives us great pride in inviting new people on board who want to become part of our warm community.