Young People’s Experiences of Menstrual Health in the Covid-19 Pandemic
Although there is increasing data on menstrual injustice in the UK, there has been almost no focus on the specific experiences of young people aged 18-35 during the Covid-19 lockdown. This original and groundbreaking youth-led research seeks to break the silence of young people’s experiences. This research finds evidence of significant, but previously overlooked, inequalities in access to menstrual health resources.
The final report amplifies the voices of young menstruators and makes a number of practical recommendations for addressing menstrual injustice for all. Many young menstruators are struggling with instability in their access to period management products and increasingly scarce professional sexual health care resources. The research also found evidence of significant, but previously overlooked, inequalities in access to menstrual health resources.
- Young people’s physical and psychological ability to manage their periods has been widely affected.
2 in 3 respondents reported ‘significant’ or ‘severe’ changes in their menstrual health symptoms.
- Young people have experienced substantial changes in their use of and access to period products.
35% of respondents have changed period products, often due to inaccessibility, unavailability or unaffordability.
- Young people have significantly limited access to menstrual and reproductive healthcare professionals
- Young people are finding menstrual health benefits in working from home – but this is not an option open to everyone.
- Access to period products and services are not equal. Of the young people who changed period products, 50% respondents from BAME backgrounds, compared to 34% white respondents, did so because previous products were inaccessible, unavailable and unaffordable.
A little about the research
In August 2020, 15 young researchers and activists were selected to take part in a youth-led participatory action research project, as part of Restless Development’s Build Back Better: Young Leaders Programme in collaboration with INGO Recrear International. The aim of the programme was to explore how Covid19 had impacted people aged 18-35 in the UK and identify opportunities for youth-led advocacy for a more equitable post-pandemic future. Our youth-led research teams produced 3 core reports on different aspects of young people’s experiences during the Covid-19 pandemic in the UK. This report, Periods During A Pandemic, is the largest of these research reports.