Purple Box campaign launches

Thursday April 12th 2018

Women for Independence Midlothian Purple Box Campaign

From left to right, Paula Cuccurullo, Ellen Scott, Jennifer Volk, Cllr Catherine Johnstone, Mary Macfarlane.

Article written by Women for Independence (WFI) Midlothian

Women for Independence (WFI) Midlothian has launched a campaign to support local women and girls affected by period poverty. Purple boxes filled with free sanitary products are being placed in libraries and other locations: the first boxes are now available in Dalkeith and Newtongrange libraries and more locations will follow very soon. Our motto is “If you need it, take it – if you can spare it, donate it”.

WFI carried out research in 2017 which showed that 22% of women in Scotland have found themselves unable to afford basic sanitary protection. This can result in them using newspaper, rags etc during their periods, there can be health issues or impacts to work and schooling. Austerity, benefits sanctions, illness and precarious employment contracts are just some of the reasons that women might not be able to afford the monthly expense of sanitary products.

If you would like to help local women, you can donate towels, tampons and other sanitary products using the purple boxes. This campaign receives no external funding and will rely on the generosity and solidarity of people in Midlothian to make it work. Please search for the Purple Box Midlothian web page to see up to date information and locations.

From August 2018, the Scottish Government plans to provide free sanitary products in schools. WFI Midlothian were supportive of the council motion raised last year by SNP councillors to provide sanitary products in Midlothian schools and council buildings. We were very disappointed to see this motion rejected by the administration. It was cited in the debate by one of the male councillors that “no girl had missed any schooling in Midlothian due to lack of access to sanitary products”. The failure by some councillors to understand the issues being faced by women every month galvanised WFI Midlothian into launching this campaign. It is not clear whether Midlothian council will implement the Scottish Government’s legislation later this year.


“When you are out and about and go to the toilet, you don’t ever say ‘I am going to use the free toilet paper’ – noone thinks twice about who is paying for it, it is just provided. We should eventually get to the point where women can get hold of what they need in the same way, but until then we need schemes like this one.” Councillor Catherine Johnstone

“Being poor is bad, being a poor woman is worse. Period! “ Ellen, Gorebridge

“Now and again I have been caught short without any tampons and I was always so grateful when another woman helped me out. I think showing solidarity with other women who need period products is just a natural extension of that.” Jennifer, Newtongrange

“When you are buying your own, if you can afford it, get a wee extra pack and drop it off in the library. Women all over Midlothian will thank you!” WFI Midlothian member

“Noone wants to discuss periods or the issues they can cause for women, yet not one person on this planet would be here if it wasn’t for women’s periods!” Paula, Loanhead

To read further about the Purple Box campaign click HERE.

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