Kicking period poverty into touch

There’s lots of exciting things happening in football right now - but let’s take some time to remember that there are still a number of pressing issues. Period poverty is very much a widespread issue, not just in football or sport in general. However, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t start tackling the problem of period poverty in our own personal, social and sporting communities. Meet Erin Slaven, Mikaela McKinley and Orlaith Duffy.


A trio of passionate Celtic fans who love their politics as much as they love their football. They also happen to be the owners of ovaries and havers of periods. Shock. Horror. We had a chat with Erin to find out more about their movement and hopefully inspire some more football fans up and down the UK.

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What made you set up the petition for free sanitary products?


We love our team and are also passionate about politics, so we thought it’d be a good idea to direct the current political discourse around period poverty into football grounds - starting with our own wee team!


Off the back of the repeal of the Offensive Behaviour at Football Act in Scotland, we felt really politically energised - it felt like the right time to start movements towards free sanitary products after seeing how normal working-class football fans organising really can make a difference.


Who, what, when?

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Why?

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There is a political drive for these items to be provided free so eventually, all companies will face these same costs. Let’s be one of the first!


How’s the petition going?


We started an online petition on the 22nd of March, and in the first day it gained around 500 signatures - we were really pleasantly surprised! Also a good mix of guys and girls signing it, which was what we wanted. On the same day we started the campaign we advised Celtic of our aims and contacted them to inform of the online petition and also to hopefully arrange a meeting with the Club.


Almost two weeks on, the petition has over 2,000 signatures. We are chuffed to bits. We urge anyone and everyone to get behind us to ensure women-specific needs are identified and met in football grounds. If you want to get behind us the petition can be found here: chn.ge/2HXsiFB 


Great to hear it’s going well! Have you had much political support?


Yep! But we could always do with more! The more the better. It has been endorsed by politicians, political parties and we have been contacted by podcasts, magazines and some of the main Scottish media who have all covered it. We have a lot of support, and we are absolutely buzzing with the debate it has started. Alongside the support, we have had a lot of negative backlash - but the good outweighs the bad. We also encourage other teams to take this idea forward and ask their own team - the more the merrier! Other Scottish fans including Hearts and even our biggest rival Rangers have took steps to doing the same.


Have Celtic as a club been supportive?


Well, we waited a while to hear back from Celtic as our point of contact was on annual leave. We heard back from the Club near the end of last week and they advised us that the matter had been passed on to the relevant figures inside the club and that they are looking at options, so we’re waiting on further updates. We will stay in touch with the club and have expressed that we are happy to help and advise them in exploring all options.


Our club is the most popular, well-known team in Scotland. With this recognition comes a responsibility to use our position for the greater good and to set a good example. Our team was founded upon principles to help children and the unemployed in Glasgow.

These principles are still visible throughout the club today, and the children and the unemployed the club seeks to help includes women and girls too.

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Ladies; make sure you sign Erin’s petition! Thanks to Erin for taking the time to talk to us.

AMY DRUCQUER