The EIS has welcomed efforts being made across Scotland to tackle the emerging issue of 'period poverty'.
The EIS has welcomed a range of initiatives aimed at addressing the cost and availability of sanitary products, including a scheme for free distribution to all students and staff at South Lanarkshire College, a government-funded pilot scheme for low-income women in Aberdeen, and an announcement by North Lanarkshire Council of free products in schools.
Commenting, on 11th October, which the UN have designated as International Day of the Girl Child, EIS President Nicola Fisher said, "The EIS is delighted to see movement on the issue of period poverty."
"People might associate issues such as a lack of access to sanitary products or girls missing school facing health issues because of their periods with developing countries, but sadly, these issues also affect girls in Scotland's schools."
"In a climate of austerity, with one in four children in Scotland living in poverty, the cost of essential sanitary products during menstruation is yet another expense that low-income families struggle to meet. Access to sanitary products is a health and wellbeing issue, and it’s about dignity."
"When there are no vending machines in the toilets at school or college, or you have no money to buy products, and are too embarrassed to ask for an emergency supply at the school office, this creates a huge amount of stress."
"Girls should be able to focus on learning when they’re in an educational environment, and that's why we support measures to destigmatise periods, and make products freely available."
General Secretary Larry Flanagan added, "The EIS has a long-standing commitment to promoting gender equality, and to highlighting the deleterious impact of poverty on education."
"Tackling period poverty is an important aspect of both campaigns, and is beneficial also to our members, 63% of whom are women, and who can face similar issues to pupils regarding access to sanitary items."
In July 2017, the EIS conducted a survey of the cost and availability of sanitary provision across schools and colleges in Scotland, with some concerning results. The findings are expected to be published in autumn 2017.
At a recent EIS Council meeting, members from across Scotland contributed to a collection of sanitary products to be distributed to foodbanks, in recognition of the importance of this issue.
The EIS is supporting Monica Lennon MSP’s campaign for a Member’s Bill to end ‘period poverty’ and create a system for free provision, including in schools and colleges.