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Help Make Period Poverty a Thing of the past

02 January 2020

Jennie Hollingsworth

Did you know that girls lose more days at school due to period poverty than cold, flu, holidays or truancy?

This startling insight into a problem that is damaging teenagers' education and causing unnecessary stress, is just one of the findings of a phs Group research report Into period poverty.
As the consumables division of the Group, we at phs Direct are ideally placed to help schools eradicate period poverty, by enrolling them in an exciting new initiative being run by phs. The following insight into the report demonstrates the scale of the problem and how we must all help.


As the term suggests, period poverty refers to the financial constraints preventing women from accessing sanitary products during their period. The research shows that this is a widespread problem; nearly half of teenage girls surveyed for the research (46%) said they believe period poverty holds girls back from attending school and a third (30%) go as far as saying it holds them back from achieving their aspirations.
Nearly one in ten girls (8%) believe having to miss school due to the lack of access to sanitary products is the biggest barrier facing girls at school today.
The survey found that an average of three days per school term were being missed in the UK because of period poverty.
These shocking statistics show the very real problems young women in our country are facing every day.

Better access

At phs Direct we believe that all women should have access to the products they need during menstruation and that no-one should be forced to miss their education because they cannot afford sanitary products.
The UK and Welsh Governments have vowed to tackle this problem by offering access to free sanitary products in all schools, with a similar directive already in place in Scotland.
Clare Noble, Head of Healthcare at phs ,said: “There is still a stigma attached to talking about periods and period poverty – and this is wrong. There should be no barriers to tackling period poverty and only by lifting the lid and recognising the scale of the problem can we ensure that it is effectively addressed. If nine out of ten girls are telling us that period poverty is a real issue, we should all be listening and compelled to take action.”

Sanitary consumables

Chris Brown, Head of Public Sector at phs , said: “In response to the growing issue of period poverty, phs has worked with Local Authorities, Schools, Government and FM providers to develop a practical and affordable solution. We’ve created a coin-free sanitary machine which can be placed within washrooms, offering girls products whenever they need it both conveniently and discreetly.”

At phs Direct we work with Schools, Colleges and Universities to ensure that our range of vending sanitary consumables, including tampons and sanitary towels, are easily accessible to the young women who need them, directly in washrooms.
This saves pupils the embarrassment and inconvenience of having to request products from the school office or nurse.
phs Direct is proud to be contributing to a newly formed Period Poverty Task Force, chaired by the Minister for Women and Equalities, Plan International UK and Procter & Gamble. The task force focuses on tackling period poverty and the stigma around menstruation, providing a joined-up approach, working with experts from all sectors and learning from and building on existing initiatives.

Why work with phs Direct?

If you are a School, College or University and would like to get involved in ending period poverty for your students, please contact us on 01827 255 500 or email direct@phs.co.uk

phs Direct is the single supplier solution you need for all your sanitary products. We offer:

  • A range of different suppliers to ensure low costs
  • A wide selection of essential, quality sanitary products including branded tampons
    and sanitary towels
  • Forecast reordering to ensure your supplies never run low
  • 48-hour delivery