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Period Dignity: "The shame and the fear that I experienced is still with me to this day".

Period Dignity: "The shame and the fear that I experienced is still with me to this day".

There is another side to our mission that we like to call ‘period dignity’.

When you use a public bathroom, it’s expected that toilet paper and hand soap are readily available, but what happens if you’re caught short by your period and there are no products in sight?

Periods should be normalised and along with the eradication of period poverty, we also want to eradicate the stigma and shame around menstruation. If free products were available in every workplace, Pegah may have had a different outcome to a very important job interview she attended. She tells us her story below:

“A number of years ago I had a very important job interview. The job itself was something I really wanted and would have given me a lot of stability. I successfully passed four out of five of the stages of interviewing, and the final part was between me and one other candidate. Before the final stage, we had a break and it was then that I got my period. This was totally unexpected and not something I was prepared for at all! I didn't have any pads or tampons and, because of the situation, I was too afraid to tell anybody. I was also worried that if I left the office to buy pads or tampons that I would be called in for the interview and I would miss out. I was stuck. 
After an hour of anxious waiting, my name was called. I hurried into the room and was careful to sit at the front of the chair because I was terrified that someone might notice that I have my period. The interviewers questioned me, but I was distracted, anxious and had lost all confidence. The stress took over and I totally failed - I didn't get the job.
The shame and the fear that I experienced is still with me to this day. I wish I could have told someone! I wish I had easy access to pads or tampons! I wish the situation had been stress-free! This is why I'm so happy to see the positive effect and change that Hey Girls is making to put an end to period poverty, and to normalise what is a very normal thing.” 

At Hey Girls we like to do a show of hands and see the room fill up with people admitting to being caught short, and with the below statistics, it’s not surprising that there’s rarely a hand kept down.

40% called in sick to work because of their period

48% missed classes because of their period

 Even more shocking is that 22% of people facing period poverty had to improvise products due to financial difficulty. We've witnessed socks, newspapers and even bread being used as alternatives to period products which is where our period dignity campaign comes into play.

Simply put, we believe access to free products is a basic right, not a luxury which is why we work with a huge variety of organisations, workplaces, education facilities and public spaces to ensure products can be accessed without barriers.

What do you mean by barrier free access?

We mean products available for anyone, everywhere without having to ask for them, pay for them or explain why they need them. Dignity comes from having access to quality products without having to make it public knowledge that you’re on your period or struggling to make ends meet that month. You shouldn’t have to whisper to a stranger for a spare tampon in a public toilet or ask for a specific teacher at school and you certainly shouldn’t have to take time away from your work by leaving the office to buy products.

We’re noticing businesses, councils and education are recognising there is a need for period dignity in their organisations but there is a still a long way to go. Encourage your workplace to improve their social responsibility, explain to your teachers why it’s important to have discreet access to products and write to your local councils so that free access to products is normalised in public spaces and no one has to experience an undignified period again.

Please contact our customer service team to join our period dignity campaign and find out how your workplace, school or community can supply sustainable products for everyone:


Written with thanks to Pegah for sharing her story with us.


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