England will fund free sanitary products for secondary school and college students after teachers raised concern that some girls were skipping lessons while menstruating because they could not afford tampons and pads.
“In response to rising concern by head teachers that some girls are missing school attendance due to inability to afford sanitary products, I have decided to fund the provision of free sanitary products in secondary schools and colleges in England from the next school year,” Finance Minister Philip Hammond said in a budget update on Wednesday.
The move comes soon after the Oscar win for best short documentary for Period. End of Sentence, which follows a group of Indian women fighting the stigma surrounding menstruation and learning to manufacture their own sanitary pads.
It also follows a move by the National Health Service in England to provide free tampons and sanitary pads to all patients who need them.
A poll of 1,000 girls and women aged 14 to 21 by the charity Plan International U.K. in August 2017 found that one in 10 said they had been unable to afford sanitary products.
Scotland became the first country in the world to offer its students access to free sanitary products when it announced the move last August and then expanded the scheme in January to include public places.