Three years ago, Amika George, then a 17-year old school girl, started #FreePeriods, a grassroots movement campaigning to highlight the issue of ‘Period Poverty’ and to seek ways of combatting it, including by petitioning the Government to provide free sanitary products in all schools and colleges in the UK.
In March 2019, a parallel legal campaign was launched by Free Periods and The Red Box Project, represented by the human rights team at law firm, Hausfeld & Co, instructing Cloisters’ barristers, Schona Jolly QC and Claire McCann. The legal campaign challenged the lack of free provision of sanitary products under the Equality Act 2010 and the Human Rights Act 1998, arguing that girls were being disadvantaged and discriminated against in their access to compulsory education.
The campaign, which included crowdfunding, has been massively successful, with the Government announcing last year that free period products would be made available in schools and colleges in England, the devolved Government in Wales making a similar commitment. The Scheme in England is launched today, as reported widely in the Press: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-51167487.
It has been a privilege for Cloisters’ barristers to work on the legal campaign: all schools and colleges in England can now sign up for the scheme so that their pupils do not miss out on free period products. Further details about the scheme can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/period-products-in-schools-and-colleges/period-product-scheme-for-schools-and-colleges-in-england.