Blog by Lauren Heaney, Volunteer Co-ordinator
What would you think if you went into a public bathroom and had to pay for toilet paper?
How would you feel if you had to ask a member of staff for toilet paper before using the bathroom?
Why should we expect free toilet paper and not free period products when both are used for essential, natural bodily functions?
Imagine every day knowing that your ‘time of the month’ was creeping closer and not having enough money to purchase products to keep your underwear dry, your outerwear stain free and your body clean – do you think you would be stressed? Do you think this is dignified?
Dignity is the state of being worthy of respect. Dignity can be taken away from us very quickly when hygiene and menstruation are involved.
Simon Community’s Period Friendly Project is a volunteer-led initiative which aims to provide people with a ‘Period of Dignity’ every month.
The Period Friendly Project
Simon Community Scotland started the Period Friendly Project in 2017 to help the most vulnerable in our society by creating Period Points, stocked with free sanitary products, in public bathrooms that offer people a clean, safe place with access to warm water. Period inequality contributes to the poor mental health and wellbeing experience of many who are excluded from the basic essentials of sanitary and hygiene products – over half the people who have experienced period inequality believe it has a direct effect on their happiness, confidence and success.
In 2018, statistics showed that 1 in 5 people in Scotland were suffering from Period Inequality – double the national average. Simon Community Scotland partnered with Glasgow City Council and Hey Girls in 2019 to provide all Glasgow Life buildings with Period Points to tackle this issue and provide people with free sustainable period products.
In the last three months our incredible army of Period Friendly volunteers have delivered over 1,000 Period Packs to people throughout the city. With the cost of living continuously increasing and people having to choose between basic essentials, these Packs provide a reprieve from another costly monthly bill.
International Women’s Day – Break The Bias
It is important to remember that not everyone who menstruates is a woman and not all women menstruate. This years International Women’s Day theme is #breakthebias which links organically with dignity and menstruation.
We can break the bias on menstruation so that people do not feel shame every month.
- We can break the bias on free period products so that they are available to everyone.
- We can break the bias on gendered menstruation by providing all bathrooms with period products.
- We can break the bias on period inequality through Period Packs.
What we want
In 2020, Scotland passed The Period Products (Free Provision) (Scotland) Bill which was the first of its kind in the world. It states that anyone who needs period products should get them free of charge. World-wide we have seen a change in attitude to menstruation from the banning of chhaupadi in Nepal in 2005, the abolishment of the UK Tampon Tax in 2021, and period activism and menstruation becoming less taboo in countries such as China.
Glasgow is the largest county in Scotland and we want to show the world how easy and seamless it is to provide people with free period products in a dignified, eco-friendly and community engaged way.
We want everyone who menstruates to feel secure that when they go into a bathroom they will be welcomed with sanitary products the way we are greeted with toilet paper.
To ensure this ambition becomes reality, much like the Bill that became an Act, we need more recruits for our Period Friendly Army so that we can stock more bathrooms in our city with Period Packs and provide more people with period products every month.
If you believe that everyone deserves a ‘Period of Dignity’ and you can spare a couple of hours every month, please sign up for our Information Session below to learn more –