Bringing equality to the table to support Gwynedd’s female school pupils

Gwynedd Councillors will today discuss an equality issue at full council, as Plaid Cymru Councillor Catrin Wager, Menai Ward in Bangor asks if more can be done to support female pupils who struggle to access sanitary products at school.

Cynghorydd Catrin Wager, Menai

Gwynedd Councillors will today discuss an equality issue at full council, as Plaid Cymru Councillor Catrin Wager, Menai Ward in Bangor asks if more can be done to support female pupils who struggle to access sanitary products at school.

“It may be an uncomfortable issue for some members of the Council to discuss, but I’m an advocate for fairness, equality and for tackling issues that disadvantage women and young girls. Sanitary period products are as essential as toilet paper for our female school aged pupils’ personal hygiene,” Councillor Catrin Wager explains.

“Across the UK we already know that Period Poverty is estimated to effect over 10% of girls, who find themselves unable to afford sanitary products. This can have a detrimental impact on their education, with some missing school as a result.

“It is also a problem for women on low income who may have to prioritise buying food rather than sanitary products and having to rely on food banks to obtain sanitary products.”

Whilst Plaid Cymru’s Gwynedd group welcomes the financial support announced by the Welsh Government to invest in schools’ sanitation equipment and making changes to school toilets where needed, the funding is not enough to make a real difference across the whole of Gwynedd schools.

“I am delighted that our fellow Plaid Cymru Councillors in Rhondda Cynon Taf successfully lobbied for this change nationally which saw the Welsh Government announce financial support to tackle period poverty across Wales. Here in Gwynedd we welcome any Welsh Government support during a period of continued austerity,” explains Councillor Wager.

“But £29,497 is not nearly enough to make a real impact across the whole of Gwynedd’s schools and put an end to this inequality that faces our young women on a monthly basis. To ensure that changes are implemented fully this issue needs to be properly budgeted every year and not be at the mercy of a Labour Government’s underspend grants, and dependent on how the wind is blowing.

“I am therefore asking my Plaid Cymru colleague who leads on education within Gwynedd’s Cabinet to ensure this is highlighted as a priority issue, research work is carried out as to how to make sanitary products easily accessible to our female pupils and students, without feeling embarrassed and irrelevant of their family income.

“I ask for support from all 75 of my fellow Gwynedd Councillors to pass this motion at full Council today.

“In my view, this has always been an equalities issue and not specifically about period poverty even though this is an important consequence. This is about ensuring we tackle issues that may not have been raised before by previous generations of councillors. This is exactly why we need more diversity in politics so we can discuss and solve problems that may not have been considered important to others,” Councillor Wager concluded.


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