Solving a problem like Hygiene Poverty

One in ten women or girls aged 14-21 in the UK cannot afford sanitary towels or tampons, according to Plan International. Until very recently, this wasn’t being talked about, despite the impact that this can have on so many people at such a young age.

Thanks to strong campaigning by a number of people and groups in the last few years, the issue has become much more widely discussed, and in March this year the Government committed to providing free sanitary products in all English secondary schools. Campaigners welcomed this as a huge step towards tackling the issue, but there is still much more to be done.

In the fourth episode of our podcast How Do You Solve a Problem Like..? - which returns today after a mid-season break - our host Milly Chowles visits the #BloodyBigBrunch (exchanging menstrual products for a Bloody Mary) and talks to activists and entrepreneurs who are taking on Period Poverty.

Two key figures in the campaign to end period poverty that Milly meets are Gabby Edlin from Bloody Good Period, and Celia Hobson from Hey Girls. Through their ventures, they are both making a difference to ending period poverty, and the stigma associated with it.

Bloody Good Period was started by Gabby Edlin who decided something needed to be done about the lack of feminine hygiene products in food banks and asylum seeker drop-in centres, despite a desperate need. Initially starting as a campaign for people to donate hygiene products on Facebook, Bloody Good Period is now a growing enterprise with a practical vision to end period poverty.

“Our aim has always been to not exist,” Gabby says. “We shouldn’t have to give away period products, they should be free, like toilet paper, in public places... We are pushing menstrual equity at the moment.”

Hey Girls was set up by Celia Hodson and her two daughters, with the philosophy that girls and young women should never have to compromise their health and wellbeing. Hey Girls sell organic high-quality sanitary products, and give one away free to those in need of them, for every one you buy.

Having been a single parent, Celia has first-hand experience of the financial strain that so many people are under, and why people can struggle to afford sanitary products while surviving on benefits.

In the podcast, we also explore how UnLtd is supporting people like Celia, helping them turn an idea for change into a sustainable organisation.

If you’re thinking about how to make an impact in the world, this is the podcast for you.

Download and listen to episode four of How Do You Solve A Problem Like..? now. You can either stream it directly in your browser on our website, or if you already use a podcast app you can find it there and subscribe. It is available on iTunes, AcastPodbeanPocketcasts and Spotify.

Keen to join the discussion? Follow the podcast on Twitter at @aproblemlike.

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Author Info


Ruth Coustick-Deal

UnLtd award winners all have fascinating stories about their ventures and why they do what they do. My role is to ensure these stories are told and seen by the world. I want to make sure all the teams at UnLtd communicate their work effectively, and that they have the best tools to do so. I have a background in political campaigning, spending the last seven years trying to improve human rights in the UK. In my spare time I co-host and produce a podcast about technology and its impact on society, and enjoy drawing and making art

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