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Canaries Trust Vice Chair On International Women’s Day

"Periods – having the painters in – time of the month – monthly cycle – riding the cotton pony – lady business – code red.

Periods have been – and still are in some parts of the world – a taboo subject. Even sitting and writing these few words has made me feel a little bit awkward. Why? It’s something that most women will go through regularly for a huge part of their adult life, so why is it such an awkward subject and why is the discussion around sanitary wear itself even more awkward !?

One in ten girls and young women in the UK are estimated to be unable to access sanitary wear. 12% have had to improvise their sanitary wear. I can’t begin to imagine what that must feel like. I, like most women I’m sure, have felt that horrible feeling of “no it can’t be today” and when that’s at home, fine you can deal with it. A few times in my life however, that feeling has been when I’ve been unprepared, (hello lovely Asda lady!!). That feeling of dread and embarrassment is bad enough once in a while, when it’s potentially every month, it’s horrific!

Now you might ask what this has to do with football – and in short it’s not a specific, football-related issue. It goes much deeper than that.

Last year, three friends connected through their love of Celtic FC, formed the group ‘On The Ball’, in order to petition for free sanitary protection at Celtic Park. With limited resources, they managed to gather thousands of signatures from fans supporting their initiative and Celtic decided to back it.

One common misconception is that if people can afford to go to games, then they can afford to buy the products themselves. Often tickets are given away through community and charity initiatives, so that argument doesn’t always hold up. Secondly, what if you’re caught short like I have been – having sanitary products available at matches isn’t going to mean gaggles of women and young girls secreting them into their bags, they’ll only use them if they need to. Lastly, it’s the principle that these products should be available and free everywhere, in the same way that toilet roll and soap are provided as standard.

Where football (and Norwich City, hopefully) can lead is in making it clear that these items are essential and not a luxury, the rest of society will hopefully follow.

As it stands, 74 clubs across all professional and semi-professional leagues have now signed up to this initiative – I think it’s time Norwich City became the 75th! The Canaries Trust have already had discussions with the Club and we’re looking forward to this initiative being rolled out in the future"

Mandie Thorpe Vice-Chair Canaries Trust

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