A SCHEME to introduce free sanitary products across Solihull’s schools and colleges to combat ‘period poverty’ will be considered by the council next week.
The proposal has been put forward by Green Party councillor Ben Groom who says it is a scandal that many UK schoolgirls are not able to afford sanitary protection like tampons and pads.
Councillors will vote next Tuesday (February 5) on whether the council should consider the possibility of the measure in schools and approve the introduction of a ‘dignity bags’ scheme.
The Scottish government introduced the measure across the nation’s schools, colleges and universities last August in a bid to tackle the issue.
The dignity bags project was established by Chepstow Town Council and ‘period poverty’ charity Red Box.
It encourages the public to donate sanitary products in branded boxes for redistribution to women and girls in need.
The products are left in charity boxes in prominent places such as pharmacies and libraries.
The motion will also consider whether the council’s cabinet member for education, Councillor Ken Meeson, should lobby government to scrap VAT on female hygiene products, and use the money generated from VAT to help fund free sanitary products for girls and women in need.
Coun Groom says: “This is particularly problematic for girls from low-income families who see their parents struggling to make ends meet and feel reluctant to ask them to add sanitary products to the weekly shop.
“In many cases, as a result, they may lose a significant number of days of schooling
“Regrettably, even women in low-income employment are sometimes unable to afford such products when struggling to meet household bills and feed their families
“Ironically, only female prisoners have a statutory right to access free sanitary products.
“Council believes that, in a country as wealthy as Britain, ‘Period Poverty’ is a scandal that should be ended.”
The motion also refers to a Plan International UK survey which found that one in 10 girls is unable to afford sanitary products.
And more than half of girls said they would rather be bullied at school than talk to their parents about periods.
The first UK summit on ending period poverty was held by Bristol City Council this month.