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Tackling period poverty

Every West Lothian Council secondary school now has free sanitary products that can be picked up in school toilets, with stocks also available in primary and ASN schools.

22 March

West Lothian is one of the first councils to address the issue of period poverty, with evidence showing that many girls are struggling to afford sanitary products.

Depute Council Leader Kirsteen Sullivan, Executive councillor for education David Dodds and Depute Chief Executive Elaine Cook visited West Calder High School on International Women's Day, Thursday 8 March, to see how the pilot scheme is working.

Pupils at West Calder High School delivered a presentation on their work to support the Huru charity, which aims to tackle period poverty in Africa, as well as sharing their views on how best to address period poverty within their school.

West Calder High School headteacher Julie Calder said: "Our young women are very engaged in the topic of period poverty, both in our community and how it affects women across the world.

"A series of special assemblies were held to discuss how the free sanitary products could be introduced into schools to make sure they would be used and appreciated by our pupils.

"Following their feedback, there's now a range of sanitary products freely available  in every female bathroom in the school."

The council is also working closely with social enterprises such as West Lothian Food Bank to ensure vulnerable women in West Lothian have access to free feminine hygiene products when they need them.

Depute Council Leader Kirsteen Sullivan said: "I'm delighted that the difficult issue of period poverty is being addressed in West Lothian. Sanitary products are not a luxury and it's essential we take action now to support those in need.

"We are one of the first local authorities to take this important step to support our young women through providing freely available sanitary products in our schools.

"International Women's Day is an important day and gives a platform for equality and women's issues.

"It's important that the voices of young women are heard, and today we have heard first-hand from the young women affected about the positive impact that this will have on their school."

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