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Half of Irish girls report money obstacles when needing sanitary products, a survey has indicated. 

A further 61 percent of the young women involved in the poll said they experienced embarrassment surrounding their periods. 

The survey was undertaken by Plan International Ireland a child rights, especially girl’s rights organisation.

They rolled out a survey on period stigma and affordability to 1,100 Irish girls from the ages of 12 to 19. 

Out of those who were polled, 50 percent said they had experienced issues with affording the sanitary products. 

Furthermore, 109 girls of those girls said they had to switch to a less suitable product because of the price.

The results revealed that almost two-thirds of the young women said the school lessons they received about their period were not helpful.

Caoimhe Dowling who took part in the survey, according to the Irish Examiner said:

"When I was younger, I felt the need to hide my period from both my family and my friends. I was made to feel shame for this biological fact of life. No person should feel shame for having a period." 

“Now, being a student means a lot of saving and scrimping to get by with the little money I get from my job. I am reminded monthly of the large chunk of money that I am forced to spend on the necessities for my period.

I’m still not used to looking at the receipt after buying pads and seeing this huge sum that I need to fork over. Pads and tampons are necessities but are still seen as luxury,” she added.

It also came to light, that another 110 participates replied that they have never had classes in their school to do with their periods.

A large proportion of the girls polled carry shame and embarrassment about their periods. 

Over 61 percent said they often feel embarrassment surrounding it and would not feel comfortable disclosing they are on their period to male counterparts in their families. 

 

Education is being impacted by periods as 61 percent missed school due to it and a huge 88 percent feel their concentration is affected. 

Meanwhile, misconceptions about periods are still prevalent from the survey,  84 participates said it wasn’t possible to get pregnant during their time of the month.

Another 79 girls thought they could lose their virginity to a tampon.

Plan International Ireland CEO, Paul O Brien said:

“From our research we know girls feel uncomfortable talking about their periods with family members and teachers. Through this survey we hope to start a conversation and end the taboos on menstruation.

"We want girls to know it is ok to talk about their period- especially if half of the girls Plan International Ireland spoke to nationwide cannot afford products for their periods."

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Scotland has become the first country in the world to provide women who are on a low income access to free sanitary care products.

A pilot programme run by poverty prevention and social enterprise charity Community Food Initiatives North East (CFINE) has been launched today and will run for six months.

The initiative will be run in several low-income areas across Aberdeen and pads and tampons will be distributed to three secondary schools and the North East Further Education College, as well as a range of organisations such as the Cyrenians, Women’s Aid and HomeStart, according to The Scotsman.

In the past, teaching unions such as the Educational Institute of Scotland had expressed concerns about students missing school and college due to “period poverty”, i.e. not having enough money to cover the cost of sanitary hygiene products.

The phenomenon of “period poverty” is generally associated with third-world countries where young girls have no access to sanitary hygiene products. However, CFINE says it also happens in developed nations like the UK.

CFINE’s chief executive Dave Simmers said “period poverty” was a concern for many women who sought help from CFINE.

“We’ve been aware of this problem for many years after hearing about difficulties from women at our food banks,” he explained.

It’s hoped the programme could be rolled out to cover a wider area should it be successful.

Image result for tampons

Equalities Secretary Angela Constance from the SNP who officially launched the scheme tweeted: “Thanks to @CFINEAberdeen for leading this very important pilot project that will inform the next steps in tackling period poverty.”

Meanwhile, Monica Lennon, Labour’s inequalities spokeswoman who has campaigned about period poverty for several years expressed her delight at the launch of the scheme.

“A positive first step by @AConstanceSNP and @scotgov to combat #periodpoverty in Scotland,” she tweeted earlier today.

It’s commendable of the Scottish government to provide free sanitary products to vulnerable women and teenagers who have little or no income to spare.

We hope the project will be successful and that period poverty will soon be a thing of the past.

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