A Plaid Cymru councillor has taken a step closer to winning her campaign to get free sanitary products for all schools in her local authority.
The policy, which has to now go to Cabinet for approval, could come into force as soon as September in time for the new academic year.
Councillor Stephens, who at 26 is one of the party’s youngest councillors, began her campaign back last year. The Labour-controlled council commissioned a report from the Scrutiny Working Group into the feasibility of providing sanitary products as a result of councillor Stephen’s Notice of Motion. That report, which surveyed school pupils as part of its work, found in her favour. This week the council voted in favour of the report’s recommendation.
Period Poverty has been found to be widespread in low-income households. The charity, Plan International UK, found as many as one-in-10 girls in the UK cannot afford sanitary products.
Councillor Stephens said: “I am really pleased that RCT County Borough Council has been persuaded of the case to provide free sanitary products in school. It is an essential hygiene item, just like toilet paper and soap.
“I would like to pay tribute to my council and party colleague, councillor Shelley Rees-Owen, who has worked really hard throughout this campaign to progress this important issue.
“No girl should have to go without sanitary products and suffer in silence and embarrassment. They won’t have to in Rhondda Cynon Taf if the Cabinet rubber stamp this policy as expected. I hope other local authorities across Wales now follow suit.”
Rhondda AM Leanne Wood said: “Thanks to the sterling work of councillor Stephens, RCT Council is set to lead the way in combating period poverty. This will make a big difference to the lives of thousands of young girls in RCT in years to come.
“As a new councillor Elyn has worked hard with determination on this issue which she knows is a major cause of concern for so many girls who have to grow up in poverty.
“I’m pleased that Plaid Cymru is leading the way on this, thanks to Elyn Stephens’ campaign.”
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