Updated: Mar 28, 2019
#freeperioduk is a petition for a free monthly allowance of sanitary products for all women in the UK. We spoke to campaigner Sophie Cummings about her reasons for starting the petition and why this project is so important.
ON WHY SHE STARTED THE FREE PERIODS CAMPAIGN:
I remember being in Boots with my mum when I was about 10. She was buying sanitary products, and I was standing in the queue wondering why she had to pay for them. I always thought it was such a strange concept that we had to buy sanitary products.
Then, two years ago I thought “this is crazy that we’re still paying for sanitary products.” I realised I needed to do something to help change it- we shouldn’t have to pay because we bleed every month. I’ve been working with asylum seekers and women who were trafficked for the past year and a half and they only get £35 a week. We get pads for them, but I think it’s crazy that without our help those women wouldn’t be able to afford sanitary products. It all sort of hit me two years ago and now I’m actually putting my foot down and doing something about it.
When I started the campaign, I had just come out of a two year relationship. I spent two years with a guy who was so controlling it was awful and then I got out of it and I just thought “I’m gonna kick ass. I’m gonna be empowered and do what I want! I’m going to make this petition!”.
ON WHY ITS SO IMPORTANT FOR WOMEN TO HAVE ACCESS TO FREE PERIOD PRODUCTS:
It’s so important because periods are so difficult. There’s been times in my life when I haven’t had enough products with me during the day and I’ve leaked. It’s just not dignified- it’s embarrassing. I’m lucky I have the money to go into boots or a pharmacy and buy products for myself, but it would be awful to not afford that. Periods are such a difficult sensitive thing. I think all women should be treated equally and have the products available to them, regardless of their financial situation. It’s 2019 we really should get on with it.
To sign the petition click here: https://www.change.org/p/freeperioduk-free-monthly-allowance-of-sanitary-products-for-all-women-in-the-uk
All artwork by Amy Lea