SDLP Deputy Leader, Nichola Mallon MLA has said that on International Women’s Day, it would be an important step forward if action was taken to tackle period poverty once and for all, as 98% of survey respondents back the party’s proposal to legislate.
The North Belfast MLA was commenting as the SDLP published the results of its Period Poverty Bill consultation which reveal that more than 45% of people across the North struggled to afford or access sanitary products.
Nichola Mallon MLA said:
“On International Women’s Day, the SDLP have renewed our call to tackle the inequalities facing women and girls across the North and a key part of this is to bring an end to period poverty.
“The results of an SDLP consultation on our plans to legislate on Period Poverty are deeply concerning and should be a wakeup call to all of us in political life and wider society. The survey, led by my colleague Pat Catney MLA, had hundreds of responses and disturbingly 45% of respondents struggled to afford sanitary products, 69% have been forced to use unsuitable alternatives and 42% have missed work or school because of their period.
“It is clear that sanitary products should be free and universally available. No one should ever have to go without this basic human right. While it is welcome that sanitary products will be provided for free in our schools, they should be available in all public buildings.”
Pat Catney, who is launching Private Members Legislation on Period Poverty, added:
“The support for widely accessible sanitary products is absolutely clear. On International Women’s Day, we are committed to tackling period poverty and working to remove the stress and financial burden it places on people who menstruate. Making sanitary items universally available would support those who are struggling, but it also sends out a strong message about health equality.”