All council buildings may soon provide free menstrual products after a women and girl’s charity survey found nearly one in eight women have recently struggled to buy menstrual products.

Sally Povolotsky, county councillor for Hendreds and Harwell brought the motion before the county council at last Tuesday’s meeting.

She highlighted facts from a 2022 survey commissioned by women and girl’s charity Action Aid UK.

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This states that of the women who struggle to afford menstrual products, 75 per cent had needed to prioritise spending money on food and 49 per cent needed to prioritise spending money on gas and electricity.

Ms Povolotsky went on to note that a number of councils across the UK have already set up or agreed to schemes to provide free period products, including Oxford City Council.

The motion passed means the council will now ask the cabinet to look into a period pant scheme, akin to reusable nappy scheme, to help with the purchase of more ‘climate friendly products’.

It also intends to promote the national school period product scheme to all Oxfordshire schools and to monitor gaps in uptake.

There are also pledges to make free menstrual products accessible in every council owned building in the county.

Ms Povolotsky said: “Today, we address a critical issue that affects thousands of individuals here in Oxfordshire – period poverty.

“Period poverty is not just a women’s issue, it is a matter of basic human dignity and equality. Free menstrual products should be readily available in council buildings and council owned public spaces.”


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This story was written by Matthew Norman, he joined the team in 2022 as a Facebook community reporter.

Matthew covers Bicester and focuses on finding stories from diverse communities.

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