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Gender Equality

Newspaper sanitary pad wakes Britain up to ‘period poverty’

Lee Mannion

15 Aug 2018

By Lee Mannion (Thomson Reuters Foundation) | 15 August 2018

“One in 10 British girls have had to use toilet paper, socks or newspapers”

LONDON – A British maker of sanitary products has placed adverts in newspapers featuring a cut-out pad to raise awareness of “period poverty” in a country where one in 10 girls have had to use toilet paper, socks or newspapers.

Hey Girls said it wanted to “stop people in their tracks” with the double-sided adverts, which tell readers to “make your own sanitary pad” – and then explain why on the reverse.

“Nobody thinks about period poverty or girls missing school because of not having menstrual products,” the company’s founder Celia Hodson told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

“Everybody thinks about India and Africa, they don’t think of our girls… If it makes you think about that in a different way, it’s really interesting.”

Hey Girls is a social enterprise – a company that aims to do good as well as turn a profit. It gives a packet of sanitary pads to a girl from a low-income family for every one it sells, and has so far donated 850,000 packets.

The advertising campaign is timed to promote the launch of its products in British supermarkets.

A survey last year by the children’s charity Plan International found 10 percent of girls in Britain have been unable to afford sanitary products.

(Reporting by Lee Mannion @leemannion, Editing by Claire Cozens. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, women’s rights, trafficking, property rights, climate change and resilience. Visit
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