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From Periods To Smear Tests, Here's How Female MPs Are Raising Taboo Topics In Parliament

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This week, MP Danielle Rowley broke a House of Commons tradition when she started her address to parliament by stating, ‘I’m on my period’. Receiving applause from other MPs, she declared that her period had already cost her £25 that week, before asking the minister for women, Victoria Atkins, what she was doing ‘to address period poverty’.

Apologising for arriving late, Rowley said:

‘I would like to announce to you today and to the house and perhaps you will excuse me for my lateness, that today I’m on my period and it’s cost me this week already £25. You know the average cost of a period in the UK over a year is £500. May women can’t afford this, what is the minister doing to address period poverty?’

Atkins went on to state that the government had invested £1.5m in the Let’s Talk Periods project by the Brook charity. However, Rowley’s declaration has had a greater impact outside of parliament, with many supporters praising her for raising a topic that typically makes most – immature - people squirm.

And Rowley isn’t the only female MP right now making the other 68% of parliament aka the men squirm. There have been a series of women recently making waves, whether it’s Wera Hobhouse bringing in Gina Martin’s upskirting bill, Maria Miller attempting to include changes in revenge porn offences in that bill, or Heidi Allen bravely sharing her own abortion story to encourage a change in Northern Ireland’s abortion law. And let's not forget how Prime Minister Theresa May reflected on her own experiences of having a smear test in parliament when her predecessor David Cameron wouldn't even say tampon out loud. So, we’ve decided to take a second to highlight the work many female MPs to break the taboos around women's bodies in parliament.