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‘Periods not a choice and products not a luxury’: 2026 action plan to tackle period poverty in Wales

20 Oct 2021 4 minutes Read
Period products

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.”

‘Painful’

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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Louise
Louise
1 month ago

Do you mean women? You must do surely?
All this pandering to ‘those who have periods’ makes a a mockery of your journalism.
Has anyone actually read this before it was published or is it written verbatim by Jane Hitt’s office? I think we know the answer.

E Hill
E Hill
1 month ago

The wording in this is very confusing. Though happy for period poverty to be highlighted, and to see you do actually use the word ‘girls’, the article starts with almost an inference that ethnic background is of far less significance than personal identity (“(Hutt) wanted to hear from as many people who have periods including intersex and trans people, and people of an ethnic minority background”). This is no way to demonstrate intersectionality. Many communities – I would say probably all – cloak menstruation in shame and embarrassment. Period poverty affects only female people and the words women and girls… Read more »

Last edited 1 month ago by E Hill
Hayley
Hayley
1 month ago

What do all those “people” have in common – they are women/girls. Only the female sex menstruates and the names for the human female are women or girls. This doesn’t change regardless of how someone identifies, if they have a medical condition or if they are from a minority group. It’s factual, objective, inclusive to 50% of the population and universally understood language. It’s also offensive as how it’s worded it’s coming across that people in those groups mentioned aren’t Women. Someone who is Intersex isn’t a third sex – it’s a medical condition of variation in sexual development, they… Read more »

Harriet
Harriet
1 month ago

Thought journalism was meant to be factual and objective – it’s women, the female sex that menstruates and only women. Women is inclusive to everyone born female and includes intersex (VSD/DSD), disabilities, ethnic minorities, trans etc.
The health of women isn’t taken as seriously when presented to medical professionals as it is when men do – because they are women. Women.

Eleanor Hunt
Eleanor Hunt
1 month ago

How can Jane Hutt state that, ‘Everyone should have access to good period products’? This is not an issue that affects everyone, is it? This is an issue that affects half of the population – those of us with female biology! Let’s start naming reproductive issues, like periods, pregnancy and menopause, correctly so that women and girls get the respect and priority they need as a sex class (no matter how they identify). We can’t fight for our rights if we pretend it affects everyone. And one thing I know is, men are not interested because it doesn’t affect them… Read more »

Gwen Jones
Gwen Jones
1 month ago

Women. Women. Women.

Katherine
Katherine
1 month ago

“People who menstruate” – that will be females, then? WOMEN and GIRLS.

Martha
Martha
1 month ago

The fact that Jane Hutt, a former Health Minister, is speaking in such a disrespectful way about people with DSDs/VSCs (so-called intersex conditions) is really concerning. There’s no justification for othering people with medical conditions in this way, suggesting that women and girls with a DSD aren’t female. Of course they are.

Did nobody involved in this action plan have any medical background? Those quotes from her are appalling and dehumanising for all women and girls.

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