Unite the Union has launched a ‘period dignity’ campaign calling on employers to provide free sanitary products in workplace toilets.
The campaign also aims to change attitudes about “that time of the month” so that women and girls no longer feel awkward about the natural cycle of their bodies.
In a new film, Suzanne Reid from Unite takes to the streets to talk to people about the campaign. She points out that periods can be inconvenient and embarrassing but the situation is made worse if sanitary products are not readily available when needed, just like toilet roll is.
Our Period Dignity campaign aims for sanitary products to be available in workplace toilets as the norm.
Making the comparison with toilet roll in men’s toilets, men don’t always use toilet paper but they’re glad it’s available when they do need it, no rushing round looking for £2 to access the paper from a machine!
The same should be true for female workers. Women don’t always need to use tampons or pads but they should be there for them when they do – it’s that simple.
In the film, Suzanne explains that no woman or girl has a choice about whether to have a period and sanitary products can be a significant expense, especially for those on low incomes.
This can lead to period poverty, meaning that girls miss school because they can’t afford them. She draws attention to the fact that VAT is payable on towels and tampons as they are considered a luxury item, whilst cakes remains VAT free.
Unite is calling for VAT to be removed from all sanitary products and has designed posters and petition to encourage people to take action.
Everyone can get involved in the campaign by writing to their local Councillors and MP, organising a petition or by displaying a poster in their workplace. The campaign also extends to schools and template letters to headteachers and school governors are available online.
You can find out more about the campaign and access all materials here.
Photo: Unite the Union