Plan International Ireland welcomes the first motion brought by the Women’s Caucus to the Dáil as an important step to achieving equality for women.
The cross-party motion which was passed yesterday in the Dáil aims to tackle Period Poverty, which is real issue for women and it is having a negative impact on their education, well-being and quality of life.
The children’s rights organisation, Plan International Ireland, surveyed 1,100 girls in Ireland aged 12-19 years old on period stigma and affordability.
Shockingly 50% have struggled to afford sanitary products, while six out of ten young women said that they feel shame and embarrassment about their period.
For many women and girls in developing countries where Plan International work, the implications of period poverty can be much more serious. Girls are much more vulnerable to dropping out of school and susceptible to issues such as child marriage.
Many girls can’t access or afford sanitary products and are forced to use rags or other materials instead. In Malawi, 70% of girls miss between 1-3 days of school per month due to menstruation which is more than they do from malaria.
Paul O’Brien, CEO of Plan International Ireland, said:
It’s unacceptable that girls feel ashamed of their period or be denied education. If girls around the world – including here in Ireland – are to reach their full potential, then we must tackle the taboos and prejudices that surround periods. It’s devastating to hear of the impact it is having on girls’ lives, their ability to be themselves, and their self-esteem.
We welcome this pioneering motion to tackle period poverty in Ireland and overseas through prioritising menstrual equity in Irish Aid’s work.
We need a society-wide approach to bust the taboo, and an education programme which addresses the shocking reality that too many girls lack the knowledge and understanding of how to manage their period, and are too afraid to ask for advice.
Lisa Wilson, Plan International Ireland Media and Communications Officer
Tel: 1800 829 829