A RECENT MAJOR RESEARCH project by Girlguiding found that climate change is one of the biggest worries for girls and young women. Increasingly young adults and teens are turning to menstrual products that are less environmentally harmful and either reusable or plastic-free. The menstrual cup market is set to grow by at least 5% in the next five years, while most major supermarkets now stock sustainable tampons and pads. Building on this momentum, The Women’s Environmental Network (WEN)’s third Environmenstrual Week of Action will take place October 19-25th. Last year saw new members such as the Women’s Institute taking part, and over 150 events taking place nationwide. This year things are a little different - you can still download a packed toolkit from WEN here.
The week aims to provide an alternative to the lessons delivered as standard in schools; in the UK, most girls receive minimal period education, delivered by big brands with an agenda to sell more products. There are obstacles to overcome, as some reusable products require users to be comfortable with their bodies. Menstrual cups, for example require users to become more intimately acquainted with their vaginas. WEN is also aware it needs to overturn cultural taboos concerning the insertion of products internally and secrecy and shame around menstruation. There are also social considerations to take on board; not all girls have access to a washing machine, a bucket for soaking or drying facilities.
However, these hurdles are there to be leapt over. Many teenagers are now using reusable products, and there are new lines launched targeting them every month. Period pants are big news – WUKA, Thinx and ModiBodi have all produced ranges designed specifically for teenagers, which are easy entry points for young girls. Other exciting products include washable pads with teen-friendly prints and cup-maker Lunette’s colourful collaboration with super-cool clothing brand Monki. Making the switch to reusable products has never been easier; let’s support our girls on this journey. Find out more at wen.org.uk