New app to help Glasgow women access free period products

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A new app has been set up by the Scottish Government to help women access free period products across the country.

The launch of the ‘PickupMyPeriod’ app — which currently lists over 700 venues — coincides with the start of Glasgow’s public consultation on period dignity, which will ask where sanitary products should be located in the city.

Scotland became the first country in the world to make period products free for all when MSPs backed a bill, introduced by Labour MSP Monica Lennon, in November 2020.

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School launch

Pupils from St Paul’s High School, in Pollok, were joined by social justice secretary Shona Robison at a virtual event this morning to launch the new app.

The app has been launched by the Scottish Government.The app has been launched by the Scottish Government.
The app has been launched by the Scottish Government. | Shutterstock

Lisa Pierotti, the headteacher at St Paul’s, said a team of girls have been leading the school’s approach to period dignity since 2017.

She added: “Our girls rejected the initial period poverty title as they felt it was actually disrespectful and compounded one of the key issues, that was the stigma attached to menstruation.”

S6 pupil Aimee Chadha said a recent study had shown, on average, women spend £18,450 on their periods over the course of their lifetime, which is “shocking”.

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“It’s treated as a luxury item when it is a necessity and it shouldn’t have to cost that much.”

She added it is important “that boys are also informed of these issues, as they will have sisters, mums, daughters, wives, girlfriends.

“They need to be understanding of the issues that girls face.”

Another S6 pupil Caitlin Grimley added a questionnaire, completed by all girls at St Paul’s, which highlighted that 11 per cent had heard, or knew of someone, unable to come to school due to having no sanitary protection.

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“If this is the case in our school, what are these issues like across the whole of Scotland? These statistics are probably even higher due to the stigma around periods, which should be eradicated.”

End to the stigma

The social justice secretary, Ms Robison, said she was proud that “we are seeing a generation for whom the stigma and embarrassment around periods, that perhaps older generations, like myself, experienced, hopefully won’t exist in the future”.

“We want a Scotland where I hope no one has to hide a tampon up their sleeve again and where everyone is able to participate in society and achieve their fullest potential.”

The app, which the social justice secretary described as a “fantastic tool”, has been developed by Hey Girls, a Scotland-based social enterprise period product supplier, and funded by the Scottish Government.

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What happens next?

More venues are expected to be added to the app as the Period Products act comes into force by December 2022. A requirement of the act is that consultation is held with citizens who require or will require access to period products.

Glasgow’s consultation process will cover where people want the products to be made available, where in these premises products should be made available, how products should be obtained and the type of products wanted.

As well as offering free period products in schools, Glasgow also provides them in multiple council and community venues, with each point offering a range of Hey Girls items, including underwear and wipes.

‘Not a luxury’

Cllr Jennifer Layden, city convener for community empowerment, equalities and human rights, said: “Period products are a right, not a luxury.

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“The monthly expenditure for period products is simply not affordable, nor sustainable for many individuals across the country. Securing fairness and restoring dignity in relation to periods is at the heart of this consultation.”

There will be three parts to the council’s consultation: pupils, public and partners/third sector organisations.

Glasgow’s former education director, Maureen McKenna, who retired last week, said the council was committed to resolving issues around period equity.

She added the app is a “fantastic addition”. “There is no stigma, there’s no asking, you’ll just look up the app and know where to get these products.”

The app can be accessed via the Google Play store for Android phones or the App Store iPhones.

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