'It is a real issue' - Free period products to be offered in boxing clubs

A 2018 survey found 50% of girls aged 12-19 reported occasional period poverty
Jack Quann
Jack Quann

07.45 11 Oct 2022

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'It is a real issue' - Free pe...

'It is a real issue' - Free period products to be offered in boxing clubs

Jack Quann
Jack Quann

07.45 11 Oct 2022

Share this article

Period packs are being gifted to over 350 boxing clubs to combat period poverty and support boxers.

The Irish Athletic Boxing Association (IABA) initiative comes as Tuesday marks the United Nations-backed International Day of the Girl.

Women In Sport lead coach and former competitive boxer Louise McKenzie told Newstalk Breakfast this is badly needed.


"It's necessary to have these products in the sports clubs, they're not currently available," she said.

"It's great to have these for the women in the club, because if anybody's caught short it's panic stations if there's no items available.

"So it just makes the girls feel comfortable that the items are there while they're training.

"Also cost of living's on the rise, period poverty is a real thing that we're living with unfortunately.

"We don't want girls missing competition and training because they can't afford these products so they have to stay home."

'Areas of high social need'

She said this is part of a wider issue around basic products.

"A lot of our boxing clubs are based in areas of high social need, and like any sports based in these areas, it is a real issue.

"I've worked closely with a couple of initiatives and charities lately, and they've all said the same problem: you've got shelters where people are living, hostels, these people don't have the basic items.

"So it is a real problem and it's one that needs to be highlighted."

Riley product collection Riley product collection. Picture: IABA

The packs, from Cork-based producer Riley, will contain tampons, applicator tampons and pads to meet a variety of needs.

They will be delivered to boxing clubs across Ireland over the coming weeks.

Louise said women may not perform at their peak if they are worrying about their period.

"It is always a daunting feeling to think that you might maybe may have a leak while you're training or competing.

"But again if these products are available, the girls don't need to worry as much that they're there.

"There's less chance of them having an accident or a leak."

White shorts

And she said there can be very simple solutions too: "A lot of young girls lately have to came to me and said that even competing in white shorts has put them off.

"So a simple fix of that is provide dark shorts," she added.

A 2018 Plan International survey in Ireland found that 50% of girls aged 12-19 reported occasional experience of period poverty and 10% reported use of "less suitable sanitary products", for reasons of cost.

A recent Government discussion paper said while tampons and sanitary towels are zero-rated in Ireland for VAT purposes, "newer period products introduced to the market after EU VAT harmonisation in 1991 cannot be zero rated".

"Negotiations are continuing at EU level to give greater flexibility to member states to allow for lower VAT rates on newer period products," it added.

Main image: File photo of sanitary products on sale in a supermarket in Glasgow, Scotland. Picture by: PA Images / Alamy Stock Photo

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Boxing Clubs Iaba International Day Of The Girl Irish Athletic Boxing Association Louise McKenzie Newstalk Breakfast Period Packs Period Poverty Plan International Riley

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