Campaign seeks free products in Uttlesford's public buildings

Women at a Saffron Walden Constituency Labour Party event

Siobhan Sliman, Saffron Walden Constituency Labour Party Women’s Officer (right) said period poverty is a big issue in Uttlesford. - Credit: Supplied by Dr Sanjukta Ghosh

A campaign to offer free sanitary products in Uttlesford’s public buildings is gaining momentum.

And if approved, the measure would trailblaze for other local authorities to take the same action across England. It would provide free sanitary products in schools, libraries, youth centres and public toilets. 

Dr Sanjukta Ghosh, Women’s and Policy Officer at Saffron Walden Constituency Labour Party, said: “We are also asking for a non-means tested distribution, as it’s not just about poverty, it’s also about dignity.”

Dr Ghosh's campaign started last March, on International Women's Day.

The petition is open until March 1. It will then be presented to Uttlesford District Council for discussion.


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Siobhan Sliman, Saffron Walden constituency Labour Party Women’s Officer, said: “A normal biological function should not cause a young woman to stop her education. 

“I wasn’t aware of how much of an issue this is in our own relatively wealthy district.” 

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R4U district councillor Petrina Lees, portfolio holder for health, said: "Having received a porch full of sanitary protection when I called out for donations for Uttlesford Foodbank last year, it was obvious residents of my village had been moved by the thought of ladies and teenagers in need of sanitary protection.  

"I wholeheartedly agree with the  general principle of supporting access to sanitary protection, and ending period poverty."

The petition has passed the threshold required for consideration by Uttlesford District Council, and can be signed until March 1 at https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/give-out-free-menstrual-products-in-uttlesford

The petition signature numbers will be announced on March 6, during an online event dedicated to International Women’s Day. Anyone who signed it will be invited to the event, where Labour MP for Sheffield Hallam Olivia Blake and Cambridge County Council representatives are among those set to discuss issues affecting women.

Dr Ghosh's campaign also supported "tampon tax" cuts to abolish the five percent tax. A national petition gained more than 80,000 signatures and the tax was scrapped on January 1. The EU is also in the process of abolishing the tax.

Research for the petition found that, on average, menstruating women in the UK spend around £5,000 on period products in their lifetime. 

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