Women’s Day call for council to provide free sanitary products
PUBLISHED: 08:27 12 March 2020 | UPDATED: 08:27 12 March 2020
Saffron Walden Labour Party called for Uttlesford District Council to provide free women’s sanitary products for local women at its annual International Women’s Day event.
The event, which took place at the Saffron Walden Day Centre, focused on relieving women from the indignity of a lack of menstrual products, as well as discrimination issues faced by women.
Sanjukta Ghosh, Saffron Walden Labour women's officer, launched a party petition, stating that based on statistics by the End Child Poverty Coalition, around 2,300 girls live in poverty in Uttlesford.
She said: 'In one of the richest districts of the fifth richest country in the world, this is completely unacceptable. It is a real, local issue which we as a collective can resolve. If toilet paper is provided freely in public toilets, period products should also be available.
'For the sake of dignity for girls and women, Saffron Walden Constituency Labour Party call on Uttlesford District Council and other local authorities in the area to provide free menstrual products in all of its public facilities. Schools, libraries, youth centres, public toilets, should all provide full access to a range of period products.'
The petition calls for non-means tested distribution in public buildings, such as toilets and libraries, and a drive to assist vulnerable sections of the population, notably households dependent on food banks and people facing housing insecurity.
Siobhan Sliman, an activist with the Pension Reform Alliance and local Labour member, was also present at the event and highlighted the problems many women now face as a result of changes to the retirement age, which has impoverished many working women.
Gemma Davies, a nurse and a local Labour party member, spoke on sex discrimination within the NHS and the need for trade union organisation to campaign for women's voices, both among staff and patients.
Pamela Jenner, a retired local journalist, emphasised the need for trade unions to tackle ongoing sex discrimination within the news industry and challenge sexist stereotypes perpetuated in the media.
Faria Attique, a Kashmiri human rights activist, who spoke on the violence, discrimination and patriarchy faced by women in Kashmir. She talked about the cultural taboos against menstruating women, who face exclusion and are gagged from speaking out against period poverty in Kashmir.