Britain launched a global “period poverty” fund and task force yesterday to ensure sanitary products are available to all women and girls by 2050 and to tackle the “shame” around menstruation.
It is estimated that half of all women and girls in poor countries are forced to use rags, cloths, grass and paper during their periods since many can’t afford to buy sanitary products, the British government said.
A survey by the children’s charity Plan International found that 10 per cent of girls in Britain alone have been unable to afford sanitary products. The government pledged to give £2 million (HK$20.7 million) to organisations working to end period poverty globally. It has also set aside £250,000 to create a task force of government departments, charities and private enterprises to tackle the issue.
Menstruation is still taboo in many countries. In Nepal, the centuries-old Hindu practice of “chhaupadi”, where women are banished from their homes during their periods, has led to four deaths since the start of the year.
In Britain, about one in four young women aged 11-21 feel embarrassed to talk about their periods, according to girls’ charity Girl Guiding UK.