Tackling period poverty with free sanitary products

Period Poverty group

The latest initiative to tackle period poverty in the Capital will see free sanitary products available in City of Edinburgh Council buildings including community centres and libraries.

The Council has teamed up with Scottish period poverty campaign group Hey Girls to provide both individual and packed environmentally-friendly products in a phased roll out from today (Tuesday 25 February).

The initiative is funded by the Scottish Government and aims to support equal access to essential items for all those who have, or live with those who have, periods.

As well as the providing the period products, staff in community centres and libraries are attending Hey Girls training to support education about periods and break down the stigma and taboo surrounding menstruation. 

This education work also includes information on re-usable period products such as menstrual cups, washable pads and period pants which will be introduced to the freely available products as the education is embedded.

The next phase of the roll-out will see free sanitary products across all Council-owned premises including cultural venues, social work centres and staff buildings like the City Chambers and Waverley Court.

Aims of the project include:

  • protecting people’s dignity, avoiding anxiety, embarrassment and stigma;
  • making a range of products available in places that people use;
  • individuals being able to get sufficient products to meet their needs and
  • awareness raising and education to both promote the initiative and attempt to change cultural norms

Councillor Alison Dickie, Education, Children and Families Vice Convener said:

Access to period products should be a basic right for every girl and woman but sadly this is not the case so I’m delighted we’re going to be making them free to all. 

We already have a great partnership with Hey Girls through our work tackling period poverty in schools and I’m especially pleased that our staff are now being trained to support vital educational work in breaking down the stigma and taboo around period poverty.

Nicole Lyons, 23 years, said:

Sanitary products are really expensive especially when you have to choose between buying milk or something for your period. Sometimes when you leave the house you think you've brought everything with you apart from a change of products so to have them free in public places is great in case you forget.

Celia Hodson, Founder of Hey Girls, said:

Hey Girls are delighted to be working with the City of Edinburgh Council to make free period products available in public spaces across the city and extending educational sessions alongside this. 

Hey Girls is a social enterprise working to end period poverty in the UK, so that no young girl or woman is forced to go without. Working with the Council means that women in Edinburgh can access period products easily and with dignity.

Published: February 26th 2020