Big Issue Invest (BII)-backed social enterprise Hey Girls booted the shame out of period poverty in Leith last night at the Hibernian FC UEFA Women’s Champions League match against Slavia Prague.
The home team lost out, but a meeting between Hey Girls‘ education and impact manager Molly Brown, Cabinet Secretary for Communities Aileen Campbell and four pupils from Edinburgh’s Broughton High School proved that the period poverty movement is on a winning streak.
Forming part of the social enterprise’s #GiveACupAGo campaign, menstrual cups (which are kinder on the environment than pads and tampons) were handed out to the crowds to try.
GO @HibsLadies!!!! 💪❤️
— Hey Girls (@HeyGirlsUK) September 11, 2019
Hibs announced their partnership with Hey Girls last year, who operate a buy-one-give-one model which means that for every box of products sold, a box is donated to someone in need – that could mean schools, colleges, foodbanks, women’s shelters and community centres.
Hey Girls education and impact manager Molly Brown said: “It’s great to see schools like Broughton High forming a steering group of young people to distribute period products. We’ve found that putting pupils in the driving seat is the best way to do it – empowering young people to take ownership, providing education, and boosting confidence.
“We certainly saw that in spades last night with four pupils confidently explaining menstrual cups to members of the public. It was brilliant to see such inspiring young people, and to be openly talking about periods in a football stadium.”
When the Edinburgh football club pledged to provide free period products for fans at Easter Road last year, it opted to send its matched donations to Canongate Youth, a local organisation supporting young people.
Speaking at the partnership launch, Hibs captain and Girls Academy manager Joelle Murray said: “We want Easter Road to be a welcoming environment for all supporters, and menstruation should not stop our female fans from enjoying watching the team here.
“It’s great that the club can provide supporters with products if they need them at the match, and at the same time support the local community through Hey Girls’ matched donation.
“The club is seeing more and more girls and women involved, be it through attending men’s and women’s matches, coming through our Girls Academy or through involvement in our range of community initiatives.
The Big Issue magazine is read by an estimated 379,195 people across the UK and circulates 82,294 copies every week.
“If we can break down some of the barriers of what is still a bit of a taboo subject then that can only be a positive for everyone.”
Hibernian Chief Executive Leeann Dempster said: “We were delighted to host Hey Girls and Broughton High School pupils on what was a fantastic occasion for the club on Wednesday night.
“It was a good opportunity to engage with a large crowd and I’m sure supporters who spoke to the pupils enjoyed and benefited from the interaction.
“Our partnership with Hey Girls has been running for almost a year now. We were aware of the campaign developing in wider society around both period poverty and period dignity, which was then driven within football by the team at On the Ball.
“We chose to work with Hey Girls because of the wider benefit to society – the products are organic and plastic-free, and for every one we purchase one is donated to a local organisation, in our case Canongate Youth, to distribute to those in need. Our women’s team are also fantastic role models to all our supporters, so having them involved in the campaign has strengthened the message.
“Our fans have reacted positively – quite simply it was the right thing to do.”