Period poverty is widely recognised as the difficulty people may experience accessing period products often as a result of financial constraints. It also includes a poverty of education, resources, rights and freedom from stigma for women, girls and those who menstruate.
Funded by ESRC as part of UK Research and Innovation’s (UKRI) rapid response to COVID-19, the project will assess how period poverty initiatives are coping during the pandemic as they continue to support those facing challenges, highlighting both potential gaps in provision and innovative solutions.
This comes as findings from Plan International UK’s recent report indicate that 11 per cent of girls aged 14-21 have not been able to afford period products in lockdown instead resorting to makeshift products such as toilet roll, socks, fabric or paper.
Led by Gemma Williams, Dr Annalise Weckesser and Dr Emma Craddock, the study will see people accessing period poverty services and charities, community groups and organisations providing period poverty initiatives interviewed about their experiences.
The new study builds upon earlier research undertaken by the University and funded by Plan International UK, focussing on best practice within the menstruation education, health, policy and advocacy sectors, which resulted in the creation of ‘Let’s Talk Period’ menstruation learning briefs.
Gemma Williams, Research Fellow at Birmingham City University, said: “Covid-19 continues to highlight gender inequalities within society. Menstrual health and periods aren’t a priority, even without a global pandemic situation.
Williams is also supporting the #MindYourBloodyLanguage social media campaign, which aims to tackle the stigma around menstruation and menstrual health by sharing ‘do’s and don’ts’ when it comes to talking about periods.
The study will run until December 2021 and data will be thematically analysed to create a report sharing best practise, challenges and innovative solutions to period poverty.
Find out more about research at Birmingham City University on the University’s website.