Leeds to tackle period poverty head on
Leeds is proud to be the first city council in England to announce measures it is taking to combat period poverty within its schools.
Councillor Jonathan Pryor (executive member for learning, skills and employment) is keen to ensure measures are in place to make sure no girl in Leeds has to miss school because of her period or go without her lunch because she has spent her money on sanitary protection.
Councillor Pryor has announced that Leeds City Council will be conducting a pilot study with Carr Manor Community School to work with the school and its pupils to discuss the prevalence of period poverty and to explore the best ways to mitigate it.
Leeds City Council is also entering into partnership with the University of Leeds and The Children’s Society, to work with children, young people, schools and settings in conducting research to investigate the impact of poverty on attendance.
The pilot scheme and the findings from the research will be used to generate ideas to tackling period poverty in Leeds that are informed by young peoples’ perspectives on sustainable, long term solutions that both reduce the stigma around period poverty and to ensure that all young people can access sanitary protection when they need it.
Additionally, the council will also be looking into provision in libraries and community hubs to help tackle period poverty for women of any age.
Councillor Jonathan Pryor, Leeds City Council’s executive member for learning, skills and employment said:
“It is a damning indictment of our society if girls are left in the position of not being able to afford sanitary protection, leading to them missing school or even meals.
“Child poverty is rising and we have a duty to mitigate its impact as much as possible, I would like to thank Carr Manor Community School, the University of Leeds and The Children’s Society for agreeing to work with us as we try and find a solution to what, quite frankly, should not be a problem in this city.”
Notes to Editors
The number of children living in poverty has increased since 2011, with an increase of 200,000 between 2015 and 2016 alone; there is now an estimated 3.9 million children now living in poverty across the UK- 66% of whom live in families with at least one working parent.
· The average cost of a period is around £128 a year, or £10 a month (Bloody Good Poverty)
· One in seven girls (15 per cent) have also struggled to afford sanitary wear (Plan International)
· One in seven girls (14 per cent) have had to ask to borrow sanitary wear from a friend due to affordability issues (Plan International)
· More than one in ten girls (12%) has had to improvise sanitary wear due to affordability issues (Plan International)
· One in five (19%) of girls have changed to a less suitable sanitary product due to cost (Plan International)