Forty-seven per cent of UK adults who menstruate report a lack of “period inclusivity”, according to research from YouGov and period care brand Freda.
Period inclusivity refers to the equal availability of affordable and suitable period products and associated support, including reproductive education and healthcare, to all those who need them.
A key aspect of period inclusivity is that all menstruating people are considered in the conversation around period care, including trans people. However, the reality is that many are left feeling excluded due to the language that is used to discuss periods.
Even the phrase “people who menstruate” is controversial to some, with author JK Rowling and Labour MP Rosie Duffield both taking offence at it last year. The uproar over the phrase, which is simply meant to include trans men and non-binary people who get periods, has only added to the stigma of being trans and menstruating.
Dr Josie Cheetham, who has worked with Freda on previous projects, has said of the scale of a lack of period inclusivity: “We often don’t realise just who is affected by period inequity, and by how much”.
Freda and YouGov conducted research that saw over 8,000 adults in the UK questioned about menstruation, revealing that over a third of adults who menstruate have felt shame or embarrassment about their period. More than one in 10 people who menstruate have been unable to access or afford period products when they need them.
And while two-thirds of 18- to 24-year-olds think that more people should known about and understand period inclusivity, only 32 per cent think that trans men should be included in conversation about periods.
Freda has brought in a new product, Cycle, to try to alleviate the stigma and destigmatise and de-gender period products.
Jamie Raines, a trans man and YouTuber who features in the Cycle campaign, said: “Cycle is an integral step towards period inclusivity. It provides choice for everyone who needs it without leaving anyone behind.
“In a world where we can be inclusive to the journeys we each go through, why wouldn’t we?”
Along with Jamie, Freda partnered with model and trans advocate Kenny Ethan Jones and genderqueer weightlifter Siufung Law to highlight the realities of a lack of period inclusivity.