Schoolgirls Are Taking Three Days Off Per Term Because Of Their Periods

Teenagers are uncomfortable talking about their periods with teachers

period poverty

by Phoebe Parke |
Updated on

A new studyby hygiene services supplier PHS Group has shed light on the impact of period poverty on schoolgirls in the UK.

A new poll conducted on 1,000 teenage girls found that they miss, on average, three days of school per term because of period related issues – more than the days missed because of a cold, flu or holidays.

And it’s not so much the pain or discomfort of the actual period that is keeping girls from attending lessons, according to this poll, but lack of access to sanitary materials, and an embarrassment around periods in general.

Nearly one in 10 children polled said they miss school because they cant afford or access sanitary products, and one in 10 said they don’t feel they can talk to staff at school about their period, so they stay home.

Even more disheartening is that nearly half of the girls polled said they believe period poverty is preventing them and their peers from doing well at school, and a third believe it holds girls back from achieving their goals.

READ MORE: Stock Images Shame Women On Their Periods, So Here Are 18 Pics That Show What It’s Really Like


Debrief Women On Their Period 'Real' Stock Images

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At Work

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Reading A Book

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Working Out At The Gym

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Listening To A man Talk About Something Boring

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Watching TV

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Eating Spaghetti

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Training At Boxing Ring

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Going Rock Climbing

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Going Swimming

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Eating An Ice-cream

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Going On A Date

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Walking The Dog

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Catching a Train

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Going Food Shopping

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Hanging Out With Friends

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Doing Yoga

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Riding A Bike

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Having A Coffee

Period stigma is nothing new, earlier this year we reported on Plan International UK’s two-year battle with the Unicode Consortium - the organisation that approves new emoji – to get the period emoji approved.

This might seem like a trivial campaign, after all it’s just a tiny picture on a keyboard, but the resistance to it shows just how far we have to go when it comes to normalizing periods and having an open conversation about them.

Plan International UK had originally pitched a design of a pair of pants with a couple of drops of blood on it, 'It was very heavily period driven, and that is very much what our work is, so we were really sad [when it was rejected],' Carmen Barlow, digital strategy and development manager at the charity told Grazia in February.

Unfortunately, an explicit link to periods was just 'too uncomfortable' for the Unicode Consortium to approve, Barlow speculates. Why? Well, according to Plan International UK, it's because of the very reason Plan International UK began their campaign.

'It's a lot about the stigma and the taboos around periods,' said Barlow at the time, 'It's actually really symptomatic of the silence that surrounds this, and why we actually still need to do campaigns around busting period stigma because that was too uncomfortable I think for them to take forward.’

The blood drop emoji was approved after two years in February 2019, ‘a small step in the right direction’, said Barlow.

‘It's great that one of the terms against it is menstruation and that will be linked in that way, but we still have a long way to go to normalise periods so that a global body like the Unicode Consortium doesn't shy away from calling something a period emoji and making it explicitly that.'

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