In October, We are Girls in Sport, launched ‘Play On’, a campaign for free period products in sports clubs and venues.
We are Girls in Sport aims to help girls like you find a sport they love through inspiring blog posts and coverage of girls and women in sport from around the world. We know you know that healthy habits are good for your mental and physical wellbeing as well as developing skills to take into later life and forming new friendships BUT we also know that there are many barriers in the way.
One of those barriers is periods.
Play on inspiration
The inspiration for the campaign was something Caroline from We are Girls in Sport (WAGIS) saw on the wall of a ladies’ toilet in a football clubhouse:
‘If you require sanitary wear, please ask at the kitchen.’
How does that sign make you feel? It’s not ideal is it?
Imagine you’ve just realised that your period’s started, and you don’t have a tampon or a pad. You’d have to sort yourself out, maybe clean yourself up and then stand in a queue of mums, dads, spectators and players waiting for their Saturday morning bacon butty. And then you have to ask for a tampon or pad and you might have to pay for it – you’ve got payment on you, right?!
Sadly, this is common up and down the UK and further afield too. We know that there are poor facilities and many, many clubs without free period wear and this is what we want to change.
We are Girls in Sport wants to drive change and help to break down the period barrier so that you can not only find a sport you love but also stick at it through adolescence, easily creating those healthy habits we mentioned and taking them into adulthood.
Why is Play On needed?
According to Women in Sport there is an almost 50 per cent drop out rate of teenage girls when it comes to being active and one of the many reasons this statistic is so high is periods. We know that teenage girls feel very self-conscious about their bodies and being active, and your periods only heighten these feelings.
Periods can be unpredictable. They can take up to six years to settle into a rhythm and so your cycle can surprise you! And it’s not just when your period happens that can leave you feeling unprepared but the flow too – one month might be heavier than another.
When you’re waiting for something to happen, you can feel anxious which isn’t going to help your motivation for training or your sporting performance. We are Girls in Sport wants to wake up sports clubs and venues to this potential period nightmare that faces girls each month. We don’t want you using toilet paper instead of pads. We don’t want you skipping training just in case you’re period starts.
We want to help you be active. That means slowly breaking down barriers to sport, access to period products being one.
The campaign aims to revolutionise sports club toilets and venues so that no girl or young woman is ever caught short. We call on sports clubs to provide free period wear and disposal options for girls so that you’re never caught short. Instead, you feel supported by your club, coaches and trainers and so can perform at your best.
The campaign wants you to join the revolution! How good are your club’s toilets now? Play ‘Loo Bingo’ and see. If they’re not scoring on all the white boxes then there’s work to be done.
Be part of change: you speak to your club about free period products – there are talking points on the We are Girls in Sport website and frequently asked questions, so that you’re totally prepared. We want you to be activists and positively shape your future in sport. The We are Girls in Sport team are here to help you every step of the way.
There’s also a questionnaire focussed on your period experiences which we would love you to complete. You can be completely anonymous, we don’t even need your email address or social media handles, but the information will be really useful to everyone involved in girls in sport.
Join the revolution and make a change. We hope you’ll join us in our campaign to help girls Play On, no matter the time of the month.