Amika George is a 17-year-old campaigning superstar. She has joined forces with the tampon tax campaigners to eradicate period poverty in schools across the country. Period! She launched her new petition only two weeks ago, lobbying the government to give all girls on free school meals, free sanitary products too. 2,527 people have already supported her campaign but she needs all the support possible to make this change a reality!
Her campaign makes a lot of sense. The idea has already been supported by Lords and politicians across the spectrum. It's a strategy that really could work and make a HUGE difference to many amazing girls across the country.
This week, I spoke to Ms George, who is studying for her A Levels alongside her campaigning. She explained her campaign was inspired by a shocking study published by the charity 'Freedom4Girls' that revealed girls in Leeds are missing school because they can't afford tampons and sanitary towels. Due to lack of resources, one girl explained she had to "wrap a sock around my underwear just to stop the bleeding", which Amika George says "could badly affect their health". Amika argued this is something we simply cannot ignore. If this is happening in Leeds, it's happening elsewhere in the UK too. Every child has the right to an education. Menstruation and the period taboo should never get in the way of that.
After reading about the extent to which period poverty harms the education of girls, and subsequently their future prospects, Ms George "felt that something had to be done!"
She explained she would "love for every schoolgirl to be given free sanitary products, but this is so unattainable given the government's current financial policy. Providing sanitary products to girls on free school meals is the first step in rolling this out, and it's really important that we focus on those who desperately need provision first".
The petition has had some amazing responses. It has gained the support of numerous MPs from multiple Parties as well as Cathy Newman from Channel 4 News, Universities and feminist movements, too. Amika explained it is "amazing to see that there are so many people who agree and want to make a change as much as I do". She went on to say the comments left on her petition "highlight just how prevalent and real this issue is today. Some say that this was a struggle they had to face every month of their childhoods, whereas others are completely unaware that Period Poverty exists, particularly in the UK". But Period Poverty does exist. And it's hurting many girls across the country. This petition can change that.
You can help to make this change a reality by signing Amika George's petition here. Support, share and become a hero in helping to end period poverty in schools. Period!