Irise International works to end period poverty and period shame in the UK and internationally. They aim to realise period equality for all by changing perceptions and practices, creating a supportive community by eliminating menstrual stigma, and building a global framework to address the root causes of period poverty and inequality. The team supports and empowers young women to end the shame associated with periods, helping them to feel confident and get the support and access they need to period products, advice and guidance.
The Covid-19 pandemic has put womens’ and girls’ dignity and right to safety at risk. They are at an increased risk of physical, sexual and emotional violence at a time when help is harder to access. The team at Irise has seen an increased need for their service. They have been responding to the urgent needs of vulnerable girls and women living mainly across Sheffield through the delivery of empowerment packs, thanks to an NET Coronavirus Appeal grant through South Yorkshire Community Foundation.
The empowerment packs include a combination of period products, contraception, menstrual and puberty education resources, wellbeing and mental health resources and information on how to access more help, including local domestic violence services. These packs will ensure that gender-specific needs are met, provide protection through signposting women and girls to support and restore power through letting vulnerable women and girls know they are not forgotten and can share their experiences. The grant is enabling the team to implement this project and respond to the urgent needs of vulnerable women and girls in Sheffield quickly and effectively, ensuring that their basic human rights are prioritised and protected.