I am writing to you to call on you to pledge your commitment to tackle period poverty in your work. I am a supporter of Every Month campaign, which provides period packs to those who would otherwise have to resort to unhygienic and undignified methods to deal with their periods. Every month, hundreds of people are forced use anything from socks to newspaper secured to underwear with gaffer tape instead of safe, hygienic sanitary products. Research shows us that those who menstruate are more likely to live in poverty, and having to buy essential and expensive products every month so that they can continue to work and go to school only further exacerbates this financial pressure. We believe that the time is now to stand together with these people and demand that everyone has access to sanitary products, regardless of their socioeconomic status.
Manchester has a uniquely progressive history, particularly concerning women’s and worker’s rights. These have been central values of the Mancunian spirit for years, and we call on you to honour this history and show that this city is committed to help all its citizens live a dignified and safe life. Not having the money to buy sanitary products is not only a matter of personal hygiene, but of emotional well-being, whereby those who menstruate report feeling ashamed and ‘dirty’ purely because their income does not stretch to this extra expense, which is so necessary for their health and well-being. Whilst this issue disproportionately impacts women and girls, it is not a ‘women’s issue’ but rather something that all members of society should be committed to combat.
Every Month make Period Packs, consisting of ten sanitary towels, ten tampons and one chocolate bar for approximately £1.17. Whilst this low cost means more packs can be made, solely relying on organisations such as this is not a sustainable solution to what is an endemic problem within our city and society. It shows that supporting those who menstruate to lead a dignified life is not an unrealistic proposition. Scotland have set a precedent with its government-backed scheme to tackle period poverty that gives menstruators on low incomes access to free sanitary products. Let Manchester be the next place that stands up to period poverty and pledges its commitment to support those it affects.
Please stand with us and call for a such a scheme to be put in place across Greater Manchester. Stand with those who menstruate within your community and call on the council to fund a scheme whereby sanitary products are free in schools, walk-in centers and sexual health clinics. Clearly state that being able to manage menstruation in a dignified and hygienic manner is not a luxury, but a right. We must ensure all those who menstruate across Greater Manchester are afforded this right, regardless of their socioeconomic status.