Part 5. A call to action
Most of the sanpro around today is old-fashioned, inefficient, expensive, environmentally damaging and dangerous to our health. Isn’t it about time we did something about it?
In our previous blog, we explored alternative products that prove sanpro can be better for users and the planet. As well as investing in reusable products, here are some other ways you can get involved in ‘environmenstrual’ campaigning and make a difference.
1. Follow-up on the tampon tax
It’s a major victory that the ‘tampon tax’ has been overturned. All sanpro will finally join HMRC’s list of ‘essential’ tax free items (alongside men’s razors, alcoholic dessert jellies, edible cake decorations and bingo!) However, we still have to wait until the amendment comes into effect by April 2018. In the meantime, campaigners have started their own website, ‘Period Watch’, to ‘keep an eye on the Government’ – as well as attempting to ‘smash the taboo’ surrounding periods with their Period Blog, where you can read people’s period stories and contribute your own. You can also join their campaigns to make free sanpro accessible to homeless and refugee women.
Find out more at https://www.periodwatch.org/
2. Write to decision makers
If you are at a university or another institution that sells sanpro, you can write to them and ask them to sell these items not-for-profit; at least until the tampon tax is dropped next year. In 2014, the University of East Anglia Students’ Union became the first in the country to sell sanpro for the same price they pay to buy them in , halving the cost of some items – so it is possible!
You can also write to your MP asking them what they’re doing to raise awareness about the environmental and health benefits of reusable sanpro in your constituency.
Find out how to write to your MP here https://www.writetothem.com/
3. Celebrate Menstrual Hygiene Day on the 28th May
In 2016 more than 290 partners, including global and local NGOs and research and academia organisations joined the Menstrual Hygiene Day partner coalition to raise awareness about the importance of good menstrual management for all women and adolescent girls. Partners organised over 100 events in more than 30 countries worldwide. This year looks set to be even bigger and better at helping to end the stigma around women’s menstrual health and build awareness.
Find out more at http://menstrualhygieneday.org/
4. Share information with friends and family
Another way of really helping promote awareness and break the taboo of menstruation is to spread the message far and wide. Give this blog a share on your social media, and include your friends in the conversation!
5. Get creative at a WEN ‘environmenstrual’ workshop
WEN runs educational and fun workshops to inform people on the health implications of certain menstrual products, and look at environmentally friendly and healthy alternatives. We even teach people to make DIY reusable menstrual pads. We’re particularly interested in bringing our workshops to schools. We’re troubled that companies which profit from disposable sanitary protection, give free menstruation management workshops in schools across the country. Our workshops provide honest, unbiased information about menstrual health, providing young women with the knowledge and confidence they need to make the best decision for them and for the planet.
Read more about our environmenstrual workshops here - http://www.wen.org.uk/our-workshops
6. Join WEN
This might be perceived as shameless self-promotion, but a lot of what we do is centred around menstruation and the environment! Becoming a member helps us to campaign for women’s health, responsible disposal of sanpro, and promote environmentally friendly products. In return you receive a membership pack, access to our quarterly newsletters, discounts on our events, and the chance to be part of the wonderful WEN community.
Find out more about joining WEN here http://www.wen.org.uk/membership/
Let’s make 2017 the year we help revolutionise the sanpro industry and improve periods for everyone – it’s about bloody time!
With thanks to Emmett Roberts