Period poverty is worst in Brighton and Hove – almost half cannot afford toiletries

Overall, a quarter of the female population is now finding it more difficult to afford basic sanitary protection – due to the rising cost of living and the effects of the pandemic

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Period poverty: The founder of All Yours Period Box discusses the problem

Period poverty is worst in Brighton and Hove – where a staggering 46% of women and girls say they sometimes cannot afford basic sanitary protection.

The study of 2,000 menstruating women found the 10 UK cities most affected by this widespread problem – including Oxford (40%) and Birmingham (34%).

And those in Cambridge and York (32% each) also admit there are a few months when they struggle.

Overall, a quarter of the female population admit that their menstrual period is a challenging time, as they find it harder to afford period products today than they did 12 months ago.

90% of them say the rising cost of living is already taking its toll, while a fifth are now caring for another family member in addition to themselves.

One in 10 women admitted they had had a harder time finding work during the pandemic and an unfortunate 7% lost their job.

A quarter of the female population in the UK say menstruation is a challenging time as they find it difficult to afford toiletries


Justin Tallis/AFP/Getty Images)

The study was commissioned by global hygiene and health company Essity, which has supported the charity In Kind Direct for 20 years.

Essity has created an instructional video with advice for those affected by period poverty.

A spokesman said: “This is a really difficult time for many and we recognize our responsibility to try and help where we can to help manage the difficulties faced by so many.

“That’s why we just extended our commitment to donate 100,000 period products monthly through at least the end of 2023.

“Hygiene is a basic human need and through charities like In Kind Direct, there are ways women and girls can access the products they need.

“We just need to raise awareness of where we’re going and how to get these items without being embarrassed or embarrassed about it.”

To cope with their time of year, those who cannot always afford their own protection obtained free pads or tampons from work (36%), the local hospital (30%) or a GP (29%).

And three in 10 have chosen to avoid dinner with friends or work, while 27% have missed a party – and a quarter of younger girls have even skipped school.

Unfortunately, more than half (55%) of those affected even skipped a meal in order to be able to pay for the products they needed.

Understandably, these women feel embarrassed (66%), ashamed (56%) and insecure (44%) at not being able to meet their own basic needs.

And others feel stinky (39%), inadequate (36%) and even uneducated (17%).

More than a third had to procure hygiene items at work free of charge


Lindsey Nicholson/Universal Images Group/Getty Images)

Of the quarter of women who can’t always afford to buy their own toiletries, nearly two-thirds (64%) have asked a friend or relative to use their own.

But 63% asked for money to do their own shopping instead.

And of those who answered the question posed in the OnePoll study without hesitation, 28% admitted to having stolen in the past because they didn’t have the opportunity to pay.

Rosanne Gray, CEO of In Kind Direct added: “We support thousands of UK charities with donated period products. Many of these organizations offer period products and period building workshops to women and girls in their local communities.

“We hear stories of women making their own pads from fabric or toilet rolls and plastic bags from supermarkets because they just can’t afford the items.

“We don’t want women and girls to be left behind because they don’t have access to the products they need every month, miss work and school.

“Period products boost self-confidence and boost self-esteem, giving people a chance for a brighter future.

“The monthly donation of Essity Bodyform products has never been more necessary. We are so proud of our longstanding partnership as we strive to support and empower even more women and girls to thrive.”


  1. Brighton and Hove – 46%
  2. Oxford – 40%
  3. Birmingham – 34%
  4. Cambridge – 32%
  5. York – 32%
  6. Southampton – 29%
  7. Belfast – 29%
  8. London – 28%
  9. Manchester – 28%
  10. Plymouth – 26%

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Fry Electronics Team

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