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Government taskforce to combat 'period poverty' and stigma facing young women

Fighting adversity: Penny Mordaunt
Fighting adversity: Penny Mordaunt

By Sam Blewett

One in five girls and young women are teased or bullied over their periods, with many suffering in silence, according to a study.

Of the 20% of 14 to 21-year-olds to tell pollsters they were targeted, 49% said they had not spoken to anyone about the abuse, in a sign of the "unacceptable stigma and shame" they are facing.

Some 67% said abuse was mainly occurring in schools, with 66% saying they have missed classes because of their period.

The research published today by Plan International UK comes as Women and Equalities Minister Penny Mordaunt - who also holds the role of UK Defence Secretary - prepares to announce the charity as co-chair of its period poverty taskforce.

They will work with the Government Equalities Office and the Procter & Gamble corporation to tackle stigma and boost education around periods - as well as investigating the 5% VAT on tampons or towels known as the "tampon tax".

Commenting on the poll of 1,000 females, Plan International UK chief executive Tanya Barron said girls are "facing unacceptable stigma and shame linked to their periods".

"Girls tell us they are missing out on school because of their period and struggling to catch up on schoolwork as a result," she said.

Ms Mordaunt said: "For too long women and girls have faced unnecessary adversity around their periods. That is the reason we have formed this new taskforce."

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