News

Let’s call periods, periods

Published: 20 Jan 2020 14:52

Campaign launched to tackle the stigma around periods.

A new groundbreaking campaign has been launched to challenge the stigma around periods and encourage more people to talk openly about them.

Aimed at 16-24 year olds, the ‘Let’s Call Periods, Periods’ marketing campaign shows how, as a society, we use all kinds of words and phrases to avoid using the word ‘periods’ when they are a natural bodily function experienced by more than 50% of the population.

Evidence shows that more than one in three women in the UK have experienced period shaming through bullying, isolation or 'time of the month' jokes and nearly half of UK women said they felt embarrassed the first time they got their period, 35% said they felt scared and 24% felt confused.

Research has also found that over half said they hide period products when carrying them to the toilet so as not to embarrass others, and 43% said they did this because they thought people would embarrass them or make jokes.

Stigma can lead some people to feel too embarrassed to talk about periods, which can cause them to miss school, college, university or work, or use products that aren’t fit for purpose or even let medical issues go unchecked.

By starting an open conversation around periods, the campaign seeks to make everyone feel more comfortable talking about periods.

Launching the campaign, Communities Secretary Aileen Campbell said:

“Since we launched our world-leading action to make access to period products free in all schools, colleges and universities in 2018, I have seen and heard about many brilliant examples of students and schools challenging the stigma and making it easier for everyone to talk about periods.

“We don’t want this momentum to stop and that is why we have launched this innovative campaign to make everyone feel more comfortable discussing periods with their friends, family and others.

“Ultimately, this is about dignity and respect and being more open. The stigma associated with periods needs to disappear. We should not feel like we have to use euphemisms or code words for periods, but can be empowered to have frank discussions about what they are and how we feel without anyone feeling embarrassed.

“It has been amazing to see so many people take part and support this campaign and to hear about their own experiences, so many of which are all too familiar. It’s time we all call out the stigma and call periods, periods.”

Keryn Matthew, current Miss Scotland and #TalkPeriods host said:

"Despite periods being a monthly reality for billions of us all over the world, some people would still rather say 'Time of the month' or 'Got the painters in' than 'period'. We need to start talking about periods more openly so we can tackle the stigma that surrounds them.

"I remember being in a shop recently and my tampon landing on the check-out as I grabbed my purse and I was mortified.  But, why should I feel like that? It's because we don’t feel able to talk about periods freely and I want to help change this. That's why I'm supporting this brilliant new campaign, talking about periods and sharing my own experiences, in the I hope that everyone will get involved and help change the narrative.

“By having more conversations, we can stop people feeling embarrassed, and ultimately, stop period shaming. Let's say it straight and call periods, periods."

Background

The Campaign

‘Let’s Call Periods, Periods’ marketing campaign shows how, as a society, we use all kinds of words and phrases to avoid using the word “periods”. The core message is that it’s time to start talking in a more honest and straightforward way and say it straight – let’s call periods, periods.

To kick-start the conversation, a launch event in Edinburgh brought together a collective of young people, influencers and key stakeholders to talk periods. A series of illustrations by Scottish illustrator Kitty Pressland were unveiled which brought to life some of the common euphemisms that feature in the campaign to highlight the issue and start conversations.

The national campaign will run across cinema, TV, print, outdoor and online advertising, with Instagram being used as hub for conversations to happen and content to be shared.

Follow us at https://www.instagram.com/talkperiods/ and join the conversation using #TalkPeriods

Research

ActionAid research (sample: 2,140 women and men, YouGov)

  • more than one in three (37%) of women in the UK have experienced period shaming through bullying, isolation or 'time of the month' jokes
  • nearly half (46%) of UK women said they felt embarrassed the first time they got their period, 35% said they felt scared and 24% felt confused
  • over half (52%) said they hide sanitary products when carrying them to the toilet so as not to embarrass others, and 43% said they did this because they thought people would embarrass them or make jokes
  • one in three (37%) women in the UK said they would not feel comfortable discussing periods with male friends. 17% of men would find discussing periods with female friends uncomfortable
  • nearly half (47%) of women surveyed, say they would feel uncomfortable discussing periods with their dads. 9% of men would feel uncomfortable discussing periods with their daughters

Access to period products scheme

The Scottish Government has invested almost £15 million in total in our world-leading action. This includes a scheme to provide free period products in schools, colleges and universities launched in 2018 and the expansion of this to provide products to those who need them the most in community settings via local authorities and community groups. In 2020, we will continue to improve access to period products through spreading good practice and further expanding our work to tackle the stigma around periods.