Just what is going on in modern Britain when teenage girls are turning up to school without adequate sanitary protection? In fact, more to the point, what is going on if girls are not attending school because they are in ‘period poverty,’ because they cannot afford a monthly supply of tampons. It seems that some families are so broke they cannot afford to give their teenage daughter a packet of tampons every month. Too broke, or too broken?
We are to believe that things are so bad in Leeds that a charity that normally provides sanitary products to girls in Kenya has had to do the same for British school girls. And as night follows day there are now demands for the State to provide such basic necessities. Predictably, Justine Greening, the Education Secretary, told MPs that ‘she would look at providing sanitary products for girls who qualify for free school meals.’
Of course she will. Because there is nothing, nothing at all, it seems that should be the responsibility of the family. I think we all know how that is going to go.
I am not criticising the charity that is doing what charities do, namely calling for more funds. You can donate here if so minded, but be warned they have not yet updated their home page to include deprived British girls in Leeds, as well as the Kenyan school girls.
The problem with this proposal, as always, is that state provision of ‘free stuff’ to children and teenagers absolves parents from the responsibility and duty to provide minimum care to their children. The more the State provides, the more entitled adults become. If they think none of this is their concern and that the State will now parent the child, you only make matters worse. In fact, the BBC video linked above is a good example of teacher as social worker.
The truth is that tampons are not expensive and are affordable if prioritised. The cheapest I found are at Asda, where a non-applicator super tampon will set you back 3.1p each. Yes just over 3p. The whole pack of 32 will cost you £1. You want one with the applicator? That will cost you 5p each. The cheapest own brand at Morrison’s costs 5p each. Tesco super own brand non-applicator will set you back, 4p
Say you used one pack of Asda own brand a month (which is unlikely) that is £12 per year. If there are two daughters in the house, that is a budget of £24 for sanitary products. So call me a heartless Tory if you want, but I do not think £24 a year is impossible for any family in Britain, single parent or otherwise, as there is a minimum benefit threshold.
The point I am trying rather laboriously to make is that the bigger you make the State, the smaller you make the citizen – or the parent in this case. What we have here is not period poverty, but parental poverty. By all means, donate to the charity – a little platoon all conservatives can support. But we should not look to the State to provide something that properly should be provided by the family. You will only cause more ‘parent poverty’ in the long run.