It is an “outrage” that thousands of girls have to skip school because they cannot afford sanitary products, an Oxfordshire MP has claimed.
Speaking at Westminster Hall last week, Oxford West and Abingdon MP Layla Moran attacked Chancellor Philip Hammond for failing to commit the funding needed to end ‘period poverty’.
The Liberal Democrat used “one of my most embarrassing moments” during the debate to illustrate her point on the ‘taboo’ subject.
Ms Moran, a former school teacher, said: “It was the first week of a new school, I was 12, and I was feeling very out of place and very lost and I hear a teacher beckon me from the top of a stairwell.
“I walk towards her, ‘yes miss, what did I do wrong?’, I was convinced that something was wrong.
“She said ‘don’t worry, everything’s fine, but I wanted to let you know that you’ve got a stain of blood on your skirt’, and of course it was not fine, I looked behind, and indeed on my light blue uniform there was such a stain.
“My face went red, and then it went white, and then I went to the bathroom and I remember crying and when I stopped crying I called my mum and she came and I went home.
“She had in fact brought another skirt, but I was just so mortified by how many people might have seen it and not said anything.”
She added: “For me that was a once off but for thousands of girls in this country, not being able to afford the sanitary products and missing school because of it is a regular occurrence.
“It’s an outrage that in a country as wealthy as Britain that we let this happen.”
Ms Moran said she was disappointed the chancellor didn’t make funding available in last month’s budget so schools could stock sanitary products – but that £1bn could be found for their deal with coalition partner DUP.
Ms Moran discussed the issue with the Minister for Women Anne Milton and her next step is to convince the government to commit to research and more funding provisions.