Renfrewshire Council

Councillor Michelle Campbell (right) with two STAR Project group members.

MEDIA RELEASE: Community group become 'Period Ninjas' on period poverty

Renfrewshire took a stand against period poverty by giving away sanitary products to young women.

Described as 'Period Ninjas', staff and volunteers at the STAR project in Paisley started the collection to support those affected the most by period poverty - young women aged between 14 and 21.

Renfrewshire Council staff supported the event by holding their own collection in the run up to Challenge Poverty Week, which runs Monday 1 to Sunday 7 October.

The STAR project team are now giving out supplies to young women from low-income families, so they can be healthy and feel comfortable at school, at home or with friends.

Year of Young People Champion, Councillor Michelle Campbell, joined Sharon McAulay of the STAR project to help hand out the goods.

She said: "Period poverty affects one in 10 girls because they can't afford them or have other mental health and wellbeing issues. Not being able to have the right sanitary products means girls are likely to putting their health at risk and often hiding away from social situations.

"Instead of hiding this issue away, we need to provide free sanitary products to all women who need them."

STAR Project Period Ninjas with Councillor Michelle Campbell and Sharon McAulay

Sharon McAulay, who helped bring the 'Period Ninjas' activity to life, added: "Period poverty shouldn't even be a thing! We shouldn't want our daughters to experience this.

"Our #NoNeedToAsk campaign is about reducing the stigma of period poverty. Asking women and girls to request products when they need them is tantamount to shaming them. We provide freely available sanitary products in our toilet areas for any women or girl to access and we ask our partners to consider doing the same.

"Sanitary products should be freely available to all women and girls and we are delighted there has been headway made in schools through the Scottish Government, we still feel there should be no need to ask."

The STAR project's Period Ninjas were supported by funding from ScotMid.

Challenge Poverty Week aims to highlight the reality of poverty and demonstrate what needs to be done across Scotland to address poverty.

Residents can help more young people in Renfrewshire by handing in individually wrapped tampons and pads to the STAR project at 12-14 Wallace Street, Paisley, PA3 2BU.

Additional notes:

The following statistics, from girls' rights charity Plan International UK, are the only current UK-wide quantitative estimate of the extent of period poverty in the UK.

  • One in ten girls (10 per cent) have been unable to afford sanitary wear
  • One in seven girls (15 per cent) have struggled to afford sanitary wear
  • One in seven girls (14 per cent) have had to ask to borrow sanitary wear from a friend due to affordability issues
  • More than one in ten girls (12 per cent) has had to improvise sanitary wear due to affordability issues
  • One in five (19%) of girls have changed to a less suitable sanitary product due to cost 

Further statistics on taboo and stigma surrounding periods and menstruation:

  • Nearly half (48 per cent) of girls aged 1421 in the UK are embarrassed by their periods
  • One in seven (14 per cent) girls admitted that they did not know what was happening when they started their period and more than a quarter (26 per cent) reporting that they did not know what to do when they started their period
  • Only one in five (22%) girls feel comfortable discussing their period with their teacher
  • Almost three quarters (71%) of girls admitted that they have felt embarrassed buying sanitary products
  • One in ten had been asked not to talk about their periods front of their mother (12 per cent) or father (11 per cent)
  • 49 per cent of girls have missed an entire day of school because of their period, of which 59 per cent have made up a lie or an alternate excuse
  • 64 per cent of girls have missed a PE or sport because of their period, of which 52 per cent of girls have made up a lie or excuse

The findings are based on Opinium Research survey of representative weighted sample of 1,000 girls and young women aged 14-21, carried out online between 22-24 August 2017.

Published: Wednesday 3 October 2018.

Pictured: Two of STAR Project's 'Period Ninjas' with Councillor Michelle Campbell and Sharon McAulay.

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