The Manchester initiative will host a 'Let's Paint The Town Red' charity event on 24 November
What can you buy for £1.50? A coffee. A birthday card. A pot of nail varnish. Or how about something that makes a huge difference to a vulnerable woman’s life?
With this small fund, local organisation Every Month can make up a period pack to donate to women facing poverty across Manchester. The charity was set up by Rosy Candlin to tackle the traumatic ways in which women on the streets are forced to deal with their periods – using socks, newspapers and other fabrics as a means of protection.
As many as 4,134 people are estimated to be sleeping rough on a single night across the UK. Whilst homelessness is a crisis regardless of gender, reports indicate that female rough sleepers are particularly vulnerable, with 58% of homeless women being threatened with violence over a twelve month period (compared to 42% of men). Experts estimate that there are a total of 68,000 women in temporary accommodation, emergency shelters and sleeping on the streets.**
Such women struggle to get access to menstrual products, and many feel too embarrassed to ask for help – begging for tampons is a degrading experience that no woman should have to endure.
Raising awareness of this issue is Every Month’s main goal.
Each £1.50 pack is made up with five pads, five non-applicator and five applicator tampons and a chocolate bar. Mooncup packs are also provided, but can be troublesome for women who do not have proper access to hygienic washing facilities. For anyone experiencing period poverty, this small gift has a huge impact on their physical and mental wellbeing.
The charity makes up and donates 250 packs a month to food banks and local homeless charities, but more funds are needed to reach women on a larger scale and make menstrual products accessible for all.
To help raise these vital funds, the charity is running Let’s Paint The Town Red a showcase of local artists, cakes, crafts and artwork all based on the theme of menstruation to tackle the stigma and raise awareness (24 November, PLANT NOMA). Tickets cost just £6 - that’s enough to fund four months of sanitary products for an individual.
Manchester has a uniquely progressive history for women’s rights but the lack of accessibility of menstrual products for all women, regardless of their financial situation, is dire. Manchester has done so much for women’s rights, so let’s not deny a basic human need.