I’m writing this after reading the at menstrual inequality is being debated. It’s called (rightly ) for free feminine hygiene products to go to women on certain working age benefits to save them having to use newspaper old socks or wadded loo rolls ( assuming they can afford that). I’m amazed it’s even being debated in UK in 2016. Everyone should be able to afford this essential. I actually believe it should be given free by the NHS .it’s a necessity. And the tampon tax always annoyed me. As a working single mum I learned to do without “essentials ” like cleanser and moisturiser. And while I was on out of work benefits I remember washing my hair in washing up liquid to save the shampoo for my daughter. But even I continued to buy tampons. If I could have gone without believe me I would have!
While I’m on the subject I remember being incensed by the Tory MP who guffaws when it was proposed the tampon tax be put towards funding women’s services. We were funding our own services by having periods. This brings me to my obsession. .hatred of the cervical screening programme. Don’t get me wrong I believe it’s every woman’s right to choose to screen if she wishes and I respect that absolutely but I can’t accept the obsession the NHS has with this rare cancer. We aren’t told our lifetime risk of developing cervical cancer is just 0.65%. If we don’t “accept our invitations ” to screening we are hounded by letter and phone calls. Sometimes we are denied medication or even an apointment until we have a smear test. We aren’t told it’s an elective test. We are told it doesn’t hurt and we should suck it up its all part of being a woman If we do find it painful or embarrassing. We aren’t told doctors are paid financial incentives to persuade enough of us to screen. Conflict of interest? Cytologists lament the introduction of HPV testing as it will mean less work for them. I hate the programme but hpv testing is a small step in the right direction. We can throw steel workers and BHS staff on the scrapheap quite happily but cry about job loss in a programme that has systematically harmed women since its inception. The cost of the repeated letters and phone calls to women who choose not to screen, the cost of man hours spent wasted chasing them would probably I’d added up equate to the cost of providing free sanitary products for every woman in the bloody country!