Three women in Glasgow have persuaded more than 100 football clubs to provide free period products at their grounds.

24 Sep 2019

In March 2018, we began a campaign for our club, Celtic FC, to provide free period products at Celtic Park.

We worked closely with the club and just six weeks later, Celtic announced that they would be making period products free and accessible at their grounds.

We thought our work was done – how wrong we were!

Once Celtic got the ball rolling, we were keen for other football teams to follow suit. This wasn’t going to happen by itself so we created ‘On The Ball’ – a wider campaign for free period products at football grounds more generally.

Eighteen months on, we now have 101 #OnTheBall teams and we remain a non-funded, non-profit grassroots campaign.

There are still just the three of us behind ‘On The Ball’ and we never expected to have had the opportunities we have been given over these past months.

From the very early days, we were fortunate to have the support of a number of trade unions including Prospect, PCS and Unite.

A voice for working class people

Our focus was on keeping the campaign grassroots and giving working class people a voice. This meant that there are some similarities between how we ran our campaign and how unions organise their activism. This laid the foundations for a strong connection between us.

Although we now have more than 100 clubs on board with the campaign, we still get nervous and sometimes unsure about big opportunities.

We were beyond flattered when Prospect kindly asked us to head down to the Trades Union Congress in Brighton to take part in a panel discussion on period poverty.

The thought of speaking in front of so many people was a bit daunting! Despite our growing experience, young, working-class women can have an almost inherent self doubt that you haven’t fully earned your place at the table.

However, we felt right at home in among the delegates and activists at the TUC who have supported us from the very beginning.

We were absolutely delighted to have been made to feel so welcome by Jez and Sue from Prospect and the many other delegates from unions across the UK – too many to mention!

The panel event itself went really well and we enjoyed the experience. Erin represented us on the panel alongside Sian Elliot from the TUC, Siobhan Endean from Unite and Hannah Whelan from Bloody Good Period.

There are so many great people and organisations working to improve access to period products in different areas of society.

Bringing these people together on a shared platform is something that we have been working on for some time. There are plenty subgroups of activism, but we all have to work together to provide a solution for what is a complex problem.

We are determined to equip working class people with the skills they need to make their voices heard – and we are grateful to Prospect for giving us that opportunity.

Links

Meet the young activists uniting to help girls who can’t afford period products, and to remove the stigma of menstruation. https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/p06vmgd5/radio-1-stories-about-bloody-time

Twitter handle – @OnTheBaw

#OnTheBall