One in five girls and young women are teased or bullied over their periods, with many suffering in silence, according to a study.
Of the 20% of 14 to 21 year-olds to tell pollsters they were targeted, 49% said they had not spoken to anyone about the abuse, in a sign of the “unacceptable stigma and shame” they are facing.
Some 67% said abuse was mainly occurring in schools, with 66% saying they have missed classes because of their period.
The research published by Plan International UK on Tuesday comes as Minister for Women and Equalities Penny Mordaunt prepares to announce the charity as co-chair of its period poverty taskforce.
They will work with the Government Equalities Office and the Procter & Gamble corporation to tackle stigma and boost education around periods.
Accessibility to period products will also be examined while the 5% VAT on tampons or towels known as the “tampon tax” will also be investigated.
Commenting on the poll of 1,000 females, Plan International UK chief executive Tanya Barron said girls are “facing unacceptable stigma and shame linked to their periods”.
“Not only is this damaging girls’ confidence and self-esteem, it’s also having an often-overlooked impact on their education,” she said.
“Girls tell us they are missing out on school because of their period and struggling to catch up on schoolwork as a result. We can’t allow this to continue.”
So far, it has been announced that tampons and other sanitary products will be given out free in England in schools and to hospital patients.
Ms Mordaunt said: “For too long women and girls in the UK have faced unnecessary adversity around their periods, that is why we have formed this new taskforce.
“Our two new co-chairs, Plan International UK and Procter & Gamble, have already produced impressive work around the country to improve access to period products and change old-fashioned attitudes to menstruation and break down taboos.”
By Sam Blewett,
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