Period Poverty is having a lack of access to sanitary products due to financial difficulty. You would be forgiven for thinking that this would only happen in third world countries. But you would be wrong.
Last year it was brought to light that school girls across the country were staying home because they couldnt afford the 'luxury' of sanitary protecion. Whilst our UK government has yet to do anything about this some charities and businesses have stepped up themselves.
Hey Girls, which are based in Scotland and launched their new ecommerce website on the 8th January 2018, provide free sanitary towels and educational resources with the aim of assisting girls in the UK to manage menstruation in a way that doesn’t put them at risk of infections.
The sanitary goods industry in the UK is worth £400 million and dominated by just a couple of major vendors, each with a 25% market share.
There currently are no other ‘buy one and give one’ sanitary towel initiatives and the Hey Girls model is based on a commercial ‘for purpose’ retail enterprise, but with all profits from sales being moved to the donation and education arm of the enterprise. For every pack of sanitary products they sell - they give a pack away to a girl or young woman in the UK in need.
Hey Girls was founded by Celia Hodson and her daughters Becky and Kate, with the philosophy that girls and young women should never have to compromise their wellbeing or their health. Having been a single parent, Celia understands first hand the financial strain of buying sanitary protection when struggling to survive on benefits. The situation for women just like Celia hasn’t changed in twenty years, which is why the Hey Girls concept was born.
“We are delighted to finally be launching Hey Girls – it has been a long and exciting journey so far! It all started with a heated discussion between myself and my two daughters that resulted in a big hairy audacious goal! We simply wanted to work out if we could fix period poverty and what that would look like.” - Celia Hodson
Hey Girls will initially offer two varieties of no leak, super comfy, chlorine and bleach free, environmentally friendly sanitary towels. These are now available to buy online. There is also interest from major UK supermarkets and the hope is that Hey Girls sanitary towels will be on shelves nationwide by Spring 2018. Hey Girls are also currently developing a further product offering and tampons will also be available by the end of 2018.
“It is so important that we seek sustainable ways to address period poverty in the UK that are not reliant on the Government. If you have to buy menstrual products anyway, you may as well do something good with the cost. Hey Girls provides an alternative shopping experience for those wishing to make a difference with the items they purchase for themselves. By “buying social” they are doing good directly via each pack they buy. The support so far has been overwhelming and we can’t wait to embark on this next crucial chapter.” - Celia Hodson