UK pledges £2m to help end global period poverty

7 Mar 19

The UK has announced it will give £2m aid support to organisations around the world as part of a campaign to end period poverty.

The money will go to bodies working to stamp out period poverty around the world by 2030 – the deadline for the Sustainable Development Goals, one of which is gender equality. 

Penny Mordaunt, British minister for women and equalities and secretary of state for international development, said on Monday: “Empowerment starts when you are young.

“Girls should be able to focus on their education and their future without being worried about or embarrassed by their periods.”

A new advisory taskforce of government departments has been set up as part of the campaign, including the Department of Health, Department for Education and Department for Work and Pensions, the private sector and charities, with a pot of £250,000 funding to kickstart its work to develop a sustainable solution to period poverty in the UK.

The Department for International Development made the announcement ahead of International Women’s Day tomorrow.

AmplifyChange, a multi-donor fund to support civil society groups advocate for reproductive health and rights, has also committed £1.5m to support 54 projects across 27 countries to help girls manage their periods.

In developing countries, it is estimated that half of all women and girls are forced to use rags, grass and paper to manage their monthly periods, and there is still stigma surrounding the topic, which forces them to miss school or work.

In India a quarter of girls miss school because of their period and only 12% of women have access to sanitary products, while a survey in South Sudan found 83% of girls use old cloths, goat skin or nothing at all to manage their periods.

In rural Gambia, a third of girls thought menstruation was a disease, when they first got their period, the UK government said in a statement.

In the UK, charity Girl Guiding estimates that 26% of girls aged 11 and 21 feel embarrassed talking to people about their period.

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