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Chesterfield teenager, 14, sets up petition calling for free period products across the UK – as 2.8 million people suffer from period poverty

Jasmine Topley, 14, from Chesterfield, has launched a petition calling to make menstrual products free in shops, schools and colleges in the hope to end period poverty. (Photo: Jasmine Topley)
Jasmine Topley, 14, from Chesterfield, has launched a petition calling to make menstrual products free in shops, schools and colleges in the hope to end period poverty. (Photo: Jasmine Topley)

Jasmine Topley, 14, from Chesterfield, has launched a petition calling for menstrual products to be available free in shops, schools and colleges in the hope to end period poverty.

Jasmine, who has recently found out that period products are free in Scotland, said: “Period products should be free because some people don’t have the money to keep on getting period products every month. All the costs add up and nobody should have to choose between food and pads. This is how low-income issues disproportionately affect low-income households and marginalised communities.

“Scotland have made their period products free so why can’t the rest of the UK follow Scotland's steps? At the end of the day I want to get as many signatures as possible, so the parliament can discuss it. In the next generation. In the future, if I have a daughter myself, I want to make sure that she can go into a shop and she will be able to get menstrual products.

“I think together we can make a significant difference in the lives of women and girls across the UK and period poverty in our country can stop.”

According to the Action Aid, period poverty in the UK has risen from 12% to 21% in just a year due to the cost of living crisis. This means that currently there are about 2.8 million people in our country who cannot afford period products.

In the description of her petition, Jasmine added: “It is disheartening to think that many women and girls face similar struggles, unable to afford these essential items. I am starting this petition to advocate for menstrual equality by urging the government and relevant authorities to make all period products freely available in shops, schools, colleges, and workspaces across the country.

“Access to affordable period products is not only a matter of convenience but also a fundamental issue of gender equality. Menstruation is a natural bodily function that affects approximately half of the population at some point in their lives. It should not be treated as an additional financial burden or cause embarrassment due to lack of access.”