Period poverty social enterprise Hey Girls has revealed its pioneering new learning tool set to tear down the period stigma in schools.
‘My Period’ is a pack of 50 cards with an image on one side and a discussion on the other, ready to explain “everything you want to know” about periods by facilitating taboo conversations.
They are suitable for all ages and were designed with a range of settings – like classrooms, youth clubs, community centres or private homes – in mind. The launch follows extensive research by the social enterprise, which showed that conversation was the best way to teach people about periods.
Kelly Walker-Reed, Founder of Project Give, a period poverty charity, said: “These cards are fantastic, they include everything that we would wish to design ourselves. They are inclusive, which is at the core of everything we believe. They are frank, to the point, and don’t dance around sensitive issues but respect the differing knowledge of the audience. The best thing about them is that they’re so versatile.”
In schools, many pupils are only taught about periods once or twice – this often means just one girls-only session at the end of primary school and a biology lesson in secondary school.
In total, more than 92,000 people have sold The Big Issue since 1991 to help themselves work their way out of poverty – more than could fit into Wembley Stadium.
The Hey Girls team has created a full pack of free lesson plans and guidance for schools and youth groups that can be downloaded online. It recommends that children are taught about periods annually from age 8 onwards, focusing on the basic practicalities and biology – until pupils are older, when they can examine how messaging in the media can influence stigma.
Celia Hodson, founder of the Big Issue Invest-backed social enterprise, said: “We are delighted to launch My Period – the result of a huge collaboration with schools, youth clubs, groups that support homeless women, and many others. Education is so important to break down the myths and taboo that still surround periods.
“We know that schools often don’t have the time or the resources to do this properly, so they can end up with the bare minimum. We need more consistency which is why we created My Period – to support teachers and educators to support girls and women across the UK.”
The new guidance also says classes should learn about related medical conditions and how to seek help if they think something might be wrong.
Christine McLean, manager of CFINE, the community group that delivered the Aberdeen pilot of free period products in 2017 called the pack “most intuitive learning tool [she had] seen in a long time”.
Last year, Hey Girls launched its ‘buy one give one’ sanity product model in supermarkets like ASDA and Waitrose.
And only recently, Welsh actor Michael Sheen teamed up with the social enterprise to break the period stigma for dads through the #Pads4Dads campaign.