Across the globe, 1.8 billion people have a period each month. Despite menstruation being a normal part of life, period poverty is real and is escalating. In recent research commissioned by Citron Hygiene, we’ve looked at the extent of period poverty in the UK, what factors are leading to this rise and what businesses can do to help.
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How is the cost-of-living crisis contributing to period poverty?
Our research found that the cost-of-living crisis has amplified period poverty in the UK, with 1 in 5 women struggling to afford menstrual products. As a result, menstruators have turned to family (62%), friends (55%) and employers (17%) for essential supplies to manage their periods. No-one should have to choose between food and sanitary items – both are vital and necessary things to buy.
Our research also found that 71% women in the UK would choose to spend money with businesses that provided free period products over ones that didn’t. Businesses can help ease menstruators’ anxiety and ensure they can continue to participate in daily life by making period products accessible to their washroom users.
Are sanitary products available in public washrooms?
Periods can begin at any time of day and can come with little warning, so it’s no surprise that our study found that 87% of women started their periods whilst they were away from home and had no period products to hand. Therefore, it should be obvious to businesses that they need to have sanitary products readily available for people who need them. However, this is clearly not the case, as 30.5% of women sometimes found themselves in a public bathroom with no access to sanitary products, and 68% of women said they either rarely or never find free sanitary products in public washrooms.
Why businesses should care about period poverty
Period poverty is a very real issue, but why should businesses care? Well, as we mentioned earlier, most women said that they would spend money with businesses that provided free sanitary products over ones that don’t. Just think, you could be losing customers by not providing free period products in your washrooms. Likewise, 82% of women said they would feel more valued as customers if a business provided free period products. Not only would giving people period dignity attract more customers but it would allow individuals to view your business more positively.
Ultimately, the cost-of-living-crisis is a very real and an ever evolving, challenging and distressing situation for many. With women saying that it’s important for businesses to provide free period products to customers (64%) and employees (71%), the last thing you should be doing during this difficult time is to force people to choose between buying food or period products.
What can businesses do about period poverty
Tackling period poverty across the UK is a large and complex task. So, whilst businesses alone can’t put a complete stop to period poverty, they can help contribute to tackling this crisis.
The first thing your business can do when addressing period poverty, is to offer free access to menstrual products for your washroom visitors. At Citron Hygiene, we’ve partnered with Aunt Flow to provide free-vend period product dispensers. By installing these dispensers of free, sustainable period products, you can provide period dignity to visitors and employees in your washrooms.
You can also enter the Loo of the Year awards to show menstruators that your washroom is inclusive and that you truly care about them having period dignity. Citron Hygiene has partnered with Aunt Flow to launch the Loo of the Year Period Dignity Award, which uses established judging criteria to celebrate the very best washrooms that give menstruators a safe, hygienic, and caring space to manage their periods.
Support period dignity in your washroom
Provide free menstrual products to your staff & customers
Our concluding thoughts: period poverty impact in the UK
Robert Guice, Chief Executive at Citron Hygiene, said: “The cost-of-living crisis is contributing to an increased demand for free and accessible period products, with more and more women experiencing the effects of period poverty. Everyone should be able to access free period products in away-from-home washrooms when and where they need them.”
Claire Coder, founder and CEO of Aunt Flow, added: “We can compare period products to toilet paper; both are necessities. Period products are necessary because menstruation is a normal bodily function. Stocking period products in public washrooms is a small price for businesses to pay to ensure guests have an equitable and dignified experience. Working with Citron Hygiene, we’re proud to support thousands of customers across the United States, UK, and Canada in joining the menstrual movement with Aunt Flow!”
Looking for an expert washroom provider to help you tackle period poverty?
Citron Hygiene offers a range of sanitary hygiene solutions, so your business can ensure all your washroom users have access to what they need, when they need it most.
With on-time, reliable servicing, get in touch with Citron Hygiene to find out how we can help.