Molly Fenton in a room full of pads. Credits: Molly Fenton

The Cardiff sisters who refuse to stop campaigning to end period poverty in Wales

The two have helped shape Welsh period policy since they first caught the Welsh Government’s attention in 2019

TWO sisters have been helping reduce period poverty for Welsh women and girls.

Molly Fenton, 20, started the Twitter campaign Love Your Period in 2018 with her sister Tilly, 16.  

Molly’s male-centric experience of sex education at school led her to take matters into her own hands and start the campaign. She said: “I personally had no period education… but I was taught how to put a condom on.” 

The Fentons joined forces with the Welsh Government to start Period Proud Wales, a scheme to destigmatise periods and increase access to free period products. 

Action 1 of the new plan. Source: stoppcampaign page on Instagram

Her long-term goal is legislation like Scotland’s Period Products Act 2021 which forces local authorities to provide free, reasonable access to period products for everybody.  

The Welsh Government have recently updated their period policy, in consultation with the girls.

Molly believes that girls are simply not given enough information.

“No one is taught how to put tampons in, and toxic shock syndrome is a deadly reality,” she said.

Molly explained that achieving period dignity requires more than providing access to free period products.

“It’s just not throwing money at the problem. It’s pretty clear what needs to be done, they [the Welsh Government] were hoping the problem would just clear up.

“Period dignity means providing the correct information and education for everybody, even if they don’t menstruate.

“We want to make sure that women are no longer given items without being taught how to use them.”

A government team will conduct a review of what went well and what didn’t in Period Proud Wales’ previous years.

The new plan commits to expanding product access to the private sector, as well as drawing more attention to menopause.

Molly and Tilly refuse to hand out any products unless they have an informational leaflet attached.

“We make sure that they’re clear with minimal writing, not inaccessible or like a prescription,” said Molly.

Molly, 20, has campaigned to end period inequality since 2018. She runs the Twitter campaign Love Your Period with her sister Tilly, 16.

They provide free informational leaflets and provide posters free of charge to libraries, schools, churches, and community centres across Wales.

Molly was inspired by an all-male panel at her school that decided period poverty debates were too taboo. This alerted her to the societal stigmas surrounding periods.

She also noticed that men’s desires were prioritised over women’s biological needs in sex education.

“I personally had no period education but was taught to put a condom on. I’ve even heard of gender segregation in schools when girls learned about periods. Boys simply got extra play time,” she said.

Molly still worries about the impact that period stigma has on both men and women: “My period education was so bad that I only recently learned that tampons expired.

“More education would also stop the menstruation myths circulating and stop men making sexist jokes.”

The Fentons’ long-term goal is to convince the Welsh Government to make period products available free of charge for anyone who needs to use them, just as they are in Scotland.

“We want to emulate what’s happened in Scotland. Their Period Products Act 2021 provides reasonably convenient access to free period products,” Molly said.

Molly Fenton holding her St David award.

Molly won the St David Award for Young Person of the Year in 2021. She hopes to continue campaigning when she starts university in September.

  • The Love Your Period campaign can be accessed here.