After hearing Erin, Orlaith and Mikaela laugh and joke with one another, you’d be surprised to learn that just over six months ago the three weren’t really friends. Yet after just weeks of planning, in March they took on the biggest club in the Scottish Professional Football League.
The trio saw their petition to have free period products available at Celtic Park signed by almost 3,000 people. On May 2, after discussions with senior football officials around periods, period poverty and the visibility of female fans and their needs, Celtic FC agreed that from August 2018 it would lead the way and become the first football club in the UK to offer free period products.
Now the trio has launched On The Ball, a campaign to replicate their success across the SPFL by giving football fans across the country the means to tackle period poverty in their own clubs.
The three met through their support of Fans Against Criminalisation (FAC), a cross-team organisation that sought to repeal the Offensive Behaviour at Football Act. A seven-year grassroots campaign from the organisation saw the act repealed in April this year and sparked an idea for politics student Erin Slaven
Slaven had noticed the lack of sanitary products in the Celtic FC stadium toilets earlier this year, but admitted she “didn’t know what to do with it”. It was the success of the FAC campaign that encouraged her to share her idea with fellow fans, mental health nurse Orlaith Duffy, and banker Mikaela McKinley.
“After seeing the repeal and their success we felt really motivated seeing that working class people really are able to enact change,” Slaven said.