Almost half of British girls have witnessed their peers being bullied and shamed about their period, a study has found. Polling company YouGov foun
Almost half of British girls have witnessed their peers being bullied and shamed about their period, a study has found.
Polling company YouGov found nearly half (43 per cent) of girls said boys tease or joke about periods – with 40 per cent of this teasing taking place in lessons under the noses of teachers.
It also found 91 per cent of girls worried about going to school while on their period and 35,000 girls are missing school because they are on their period – the equivalent to 2.1 million hours of education.
The Fear Going to School Less report found that 27 per cent of girls said embarrassment and shame-related factors were the reason behind them missing out on school.
They cited worries around leaking, boys knowing, being teased and not being able to go to the toilet during classes.
The research – which saw more than 1,000 high school children surveyed – found period education for boys in schools is both failing to properly engage them or deliver the basic facts for many children and this is, in turn, is boosting stigma.
The report that was conducted with menstrual care brand Bodyform, found 94 per cent of boys admitted to not knowing a lot about periods.
In total, 137,000 admitted to teasing girls about periods in school and 45 per cent of these did it because it was awkward about the issue. Bodyform said it had extrapolated the figures from the Department for Education’s School Census.
Mollie, a 16-year-old from West Yorkshire, said she has witnessed bullying about periods in her school.
“There was this time boys managed to get hold of a used tampon – I don’t know how – but they were playing and throwing it around. It was quite gross,” she told The Independent. “I think they probably had an idea but I don’t think they fully understood where it had been. It would have been very embarrassing for girls to watch and might make them feel insecure.
“It plays into mocking of periods and ignorance around periods and not knowing what things are or how they are used.”
She added that although she had not personally experienced bullying, it was “surprising” that so many endured it – with jibes about boys saying “it must be that time of the month” commonplace.
“One of my friends is quite shy and she finds it a lot less pressure to not be at school when she is on her period,” she said. “Boys do seem to be very ignorant about periods and the opportunity to be bullied about your period is quite wide. It does knock your confidence if a boy says ‘is it that time of the month?’ or ‘is that a pad?’. It makes you shy away from school.”
The teenager added that the education she had received about periods was wholly insufficient and she had never been taught about the range of sanitary products available.