By Rachel Moss
More than 40 per cent of girls in the UK have had to use toilet roll to manage their period because they’ve struggled to afford sanitary products. But campaigners are hoping to change that with a London taxi with a difference.
The black cab has been given a pink makeover and is now adorned with tampons, Mooncups and sanitary towels. It’ll be driving around London from today until 19 December, operating as a regular cab to raise awareness of period poverty both in the UK and abroad.
It’ll also be making some special stop offs on the way, handing out 5,000 sanitary products to women at homeless shelters across the capital.
The idea is the brainchild of Holly Bantleman from Project Period, a coalition of period poverty campaigners. Bantleman came up with the idea while having a “cheeky margarita” in an outside bar in the summer and seeing a pink taxi go past.
She hopes the taxi will raise awareness about period poverty, as well as encourage more people to donate and volunteer with period poverty charities.
Through her work, Bantleman has witnessed the devastating impact period poverty has on women and girls both here and abroad.
“The impact on someone’s confidence, on their sense of pride, is huge,” she tells HuffPost UK. “I’ve spoken to women who are unable to take public transport because they’re on their periods and can’t leave the house, and that ends up having an impact on their work and the funds that they’re able to take home to their families.”
Period poverty also has a huge impact on education, with thousands of girls around the wold missing school when they’re on their period.
“There are points where I’ve known young girls who have exchanged sex for sanitary products,” Bantleman says.
When girls and women in the UK are forced to use toilet tissue in place of sanitary products, it can leave them worried about leaking, seriously restricting their daily lives.
But elsewhere in the world, Bantleman says loo roll may not even be available.
“People end up using crude materials like banana leaves, mud and rags, which can have an impact on a woman’s reproductive and personal health,” she says.
Campaigns like Project Period are working to ensure that all people who need sanitary products have access to them. The taxi will be driving around London until 19 December – find out more about the organisation’s work here.