‘Periods not a choice and products not a luxury’: 2026 action plan to tackle period poverty in Wales
Periods are not a choice and period products are not a luxury, a minister has said as the Welsh Government announced an action plan to eradicate period poverty and ensure period dignity for all in Wales.
Minister for Social Justice Jane Hutt said that she wanted to hear from as many people who have periods including intersex and trans people, and people of an ethnic minority background, to ensure the plan involved all communities.
Research shows 15% of girls in Wales aged 14 to 21 have been unable to afford period products at some point, almost half of girls are embarrassed to talk about periods and over a quarter didn’t know what to do when their period started – issues which the Welsh Government is working to tackle.
Outlining the aims of the Period Dignity Strategic Action Plan – which is now open for consultation – Minister for Social Justice Jane Hutt said that periods were “an issue for us all” as everyone has them or knows someone who does.
“No-one should be disadvantaged because of their period and periods must never be a reason that a person misses out on education, employment or social activity,” she said.
“Everyone should have access to good quality period products, to use in a private space that is safe and dignified.
She added: “This plan specifically aims to be intersectional, in that it considers period dignity for those with additional protected characteristics and seeks to make provision for additional challenges or cultural requirements.
“It is vitally important we now hear from as broad a range of people in Wales as we can.
“I’m keen to ensure we reach out to women, young people, older people, non-binary, intersex and trans people, disabled people, people of various faiths and Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic people to ensure the plan considers the range of issues associated with having a period.
“We want a national and inclusive conversation about the impact periods can have across a person’s life course so that we can mitigate these impacts, end the stigma and normalise attitudes around menstruation.”
Anna Cooper, 28, from Wrexham is an endometriosis and menstrual health campaigner. She has a stoma bag and catheter due to the effects of widespread endometriosis, a condition linked to menstruation.
She said that it was “incredibly important” to break down the taboo surrounding periods and menstrual well-being.
“I was diagnosed two weeks before my 18th birthday, but had been told from an early age that I needed to toughen up & painful periods was part of being a woman,” she said.
“Normalising painful periods is detrimental and dangerous. I was diagnosed with stage 4 when I was still a teenager but yet was dismissed for years through my early teens. I was dismissed by my teachers, friends and medical professionals. I was never told or taught what a normal period should be or the warning signs to look out for if they were not.
“This is why I believe so strongly in menstrual well-being education being taught in schools to all pupils to make them aware of the importance of knowing what to look out for with your menstrual health. It’s important that we prioritise our menstrual health as much as any other part of our physical health.
“As a society we need to stop making women feel as if it’s normal to suffer in severe pain with periods. It’s not okay to normalise pain. This is why menstrual well-being education is vital for future generations. We need to stop the stigma to reduce the amount of those who suffer in silence for years.”
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