But for some women and girls the effect is far worse. Living on meagre incomes, the effects can be life changing, meaning they miss school or work, lose confidence socially and are forced to forego opportunities because they can’t afford to buy sanitary products.
That’s why Councillor Clare Maitland, Cabinet Member for Equalities, Inclusion and Poverty, East Ayrshire Council is so happy to be spearheading East Ayrshire Council’s drive to end period poverty backed by funding from the Scottish Government. She explains: “It’s shocking that in a wealthy country like Scotland welfare cuts and monetary constraints mean that many girls and young women are unable to meet the relatively high cost of basic sanitary products.
“We’ve already rolled out the Scottish Government’s programme of free sanitary products to all our schools, so over the summer, with this new funding we’ve been tackling our own and other community public buildings and taken part in events such as Play Day where we distributed over 200 bags of products.
“We’re doing this thanks to Scottish Government funding aimed at breaking down barriers and enabling women to access sanitary products, which are not a luxury product. They are a necessity for a very large part of a woman's life. If we can help them with free sanitary protection it supports them, relieves a stress and a financial burden and enables them to go out, mix and take part in life, meeting challenges head on, without fear of embarrassment or health problems. In this day and age no one should have to suffer the indignity of not having the means to meet their basic needs.
"By meeting the demand for products, we’re helping to reduce the stigma and address the overarching gender equality and dignity issues that affect everyone who menstruates, regardless of their income."
East Ayrshire Council is working in partnership with NHS Ayrshire and Arran, Scottish Government and East Ayrshire Leisure Trust, to ensure public buildings, health centres, gp surgeries, leisure centres, visitor attractions, EAC local offices and 52 week nurseries all have a regular supply of pads, tampons and menstrual cups available in their toilets and on demand.
They work with award winning social enterprise organisation Hey Girls, which provides ethically sourced biodegradable products at cost price. The organisation aims to eliminate the stigma of period poverty with the promise that for every product bought, they will provide one free to a woman/girl in need.
To find out more about East Ayrshire’s mission to make sanitary products freely available throughout the area, or if you can suggest a location which could act as a base for a supply, please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org