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President Jair Bolsonaro’s recently blocked the free disbursement of period care items to disadvantaged women in Brazil. His decision has been met with outrage.

It is estimated that 1 in 4 girls in Brazil is kept out of school due to period poverty. The bill was part of a larger plan to help women with their menstruating needs.

Tabata Amaral, of the Brazilian Socialist Party (PSB) and one of 34 cross-party federal deputies who co-authored the bill, said, “Bolsonaro says this project is ‘against the public interest’. I say that what is against the public interest is that girls lose around six weeks of school a year because they are menstruating.”

Many Brazilian girls live without bathrooms and any sanitary items for menstruation. Even their schools often do not have toilets, soap, or pads. Many girls are forced to stay home as they do not have any way to control the bleeding and cannot attend school without some form of menstruation care.

Rozana Barroso, president of the Brazilian Union of Secondary Students, said, “Have you ever imagined using paper, newspaper, or breadcrumbs to contain menstruation? This is a harsh reality, especially among young people. In the midst of the pandemic and worsening social inequality, this situation has gotten even worse.”

There is no real excuse for blocking the giving away of period care items to disadvantaged women. The president had no right to do so and is putting these women in a corner where they are punished for a recurring natural process.

Sign this petition to demand that England and Wales join Scotland in making period products free for all who need them, so the entire UK can be a period-friendly nation

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