Written by on . Pegasus.

Celebrating a period of great progress for menstrual health

It’s a rare day in 2020 when you wake up to good news, particularly good health news. But rising to the story that Scotland has become the first country in the world to provide free and universal access to period products is an unprecedented ‘win’ when it comes to menstruation, something we could all do with a little more of.

While it may seem to some like a feminist pipedream, there are large-scale economic and societal reasons why providing period products for free is good for all of us. With the average consumer spending £13 a month on period products, period poverty in all countries can lead to a break in schooling, missing essential education and lessening their chances of employment. Shame around period products, or the need to fashion unsafe alternatives can also lead to secondary health issues in young people.

Though it sounds revolutionary at a time of such austerity to be providing such a universal need for free (and non-means tested), consider for a moment the wide availability of male contraceptive products in sexual health centres, GP surgeries and nightclubs up and down the country.

In other areas of gender-specific healthcare, consider that erectile dysfunction studies outnumber PMS research by five to one. Meanwhile, nine out of 10 of those who experience periods suffer from PMS symptoms, while only 19 per cent of men experience erectile dysfunction.

From a health communications stance, this is a huge step forward. This four-year campaign has fundamentally shifted public conversation around menstruation.

It’s not just governments and grass roots campaigners who have led the charge either. We’ve seen support from our retail clients such as Holland&Barrett, Superdrug and LloydsPharmacy on topics including period poverty and the necessity of providing sustainable, educational and innovative policy changes in these product areas to support campaigners’ arguments through their consumer audiences, as well as educational campaigns from our work with Bayer and Canesten who are supporting young women with information and advice to better understand their vulva and vagina.

So what next? I hope this historical news will help open up the conversation on other biological certainties that more than half our population contends with on a daily basis. Taboos around menopause care, the pink tax, endometriosis research. The list is seemingly endless, and we are excited to work with healthcare clients who have the opportunity to make a difference in this area.

But for now, we can sit back and celebrate a bloody good day.

is Head of Earned Media in our Consumer Health & Beauty team. She is an expert in media & corporate comms.