Ever since 2015 was dubbed “the year of the period”, I’ve been keen to end each year looking back at progress we’ve made. Although 2020 was a pretty rough year that took a lot from us all, there are a few positives! Here are some menstrual moments that have been a real highlight in an otherwise tumultuous year.
Scotland became the first nation to provide period products
Four years after a grassroots campaign fronted by Monica Lennon started, Scotland officially became the first country in the world to provide universal access to period products. Not only did the act pass unanimously, it places a legal duty on local authorities to make products available for those who need them.
Flushable menstrual pads hit the market
Yes, you read that right. Planera started sending out trial pads this year that can safely be flushed. Founded by a doctor and engineer who feel the responsibility of waste shouldn’t fall onto customers, the pads are biodegradable. How do they work you ask? They disintegrate when exposed to the water aka when you flush it down the toilet. Find out more here.
The UK finally said goodbye to the tampon tax
The UK finally announced that they would scrap the 5% tax on period products come 2021. However, period pants are not included in this and still taxed at a shocking 20%. Period underwear brand Wukawear have been petitioning to make pants exempt too.
Sweden called for better quality of period products
Despite the amount of products currently marketed, there are no clear global regulations that guarantee the safety and quality of menstrual products. The Swedish Institute for Standards along with other researchers, experts and companies submitted a proposal for a new standardisation in order to help improve the health and safety of people using menstrual products.
Mandatory relationships and sex education was introduced in the UK
As of September 2020, RSE became compulsory. Kids in primary school now learn about relationships with further RSE to follow in secondary school. Things like consent, inappropriate ways of touching, correct terminology for body parts & more are included. As is some information on menstruation! Although the guidelines for periods are vague, this is definitely a win. Here’s what I’d like to see included.
It’s also worth noting the pandemic has helped raise awareness of the reality of period poverty for many too. Here’s to hoping 2021 brings more good news!