Welsh Schools Tackle Period Poverty By Doling Out Tampons And Pads At Schools
It's a Saturday! It is beautiful out (at least in Chicago)! And yet, unfortunately for us, all of the news out there today is either about Coachella or extremely depressing. Not very fun for an open thread! And while, you know, I could probably go on for a bit about this gaggy bit from Radar about how Lisa Rinna, Kyle Richards and Teddi Mellencamp are are reportedly "partying down" at Coachella (at least about Lisa Rinna's unfortunate pants), this is a political site and not a "Robyn yells about the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills" site (though for the record, Team LVP. Duh.).
Thus, in order to find something nice to end our day on, I had to go across the pond (not literally) for this good news about how schools in Wales are giving out free menstrual products at schools so that anyone who cannot afford them will not have to miss school -- a real thing that happens, unfortunately.
First Minister Mark Drakeford announced the cash, to be made available to councils immediately, at Welsh Labour conference on Saturday.'
"It's unthinkable that young women could be forced to miss days of their education simply because they can't access or afford period products," said education minister Kirsty Williams.
"We're committed to tackling this inequality in Wales and this funding will help make period products available to learners in all schools, free of charge and in the most dignified way possible."
That is pretty darned awesome. Good for Wales!
Period poverty -- the inability to afford menstrual products -- is a problem for schoolchildren in the US as well. A recent study showed that the problem keeps nearly 1 in 5 girls in the US home during their period, disrupting their education. Unlike food and certain other necessities, menstrual products cannot be purchased with SNAP or WIC. Because they are not classified as medical devices by the IRS (although the FDA does classify them this way), they cannot be paid for out of pre-tax dollars in health savings accounts or flex accounts. This means that there are a hell of a lot of people in this country who cannot afford to buy menstrual products, and that is messed up considering the very large chunk of our population that needs them.
What Wales is doing is great, and it's certainly something we could and should replicate here in America. Hopefully, when our government is less horrible, we will!
And with that, this is now your open thread! Feel free to talk about your periods or how Lisa Rinna is the worst or whatever else your beautiful hearts desire!
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Robyn Pennacchia is a brilliant, fabulously talented and visually stunning angel of a human being, who shrugged off what she is pretty sure would have been a Tony Award-winning career in musical theater in order to write about stuff on the internet. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynElyse