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Menstrual wellbeing to be taught in schools by 2020

Endometriosis UK has today welcomed government plans for every child in England to be taught about menstrual wellbeing.

Education Secretary Damian Hinds will today set out plans to make relationships education in all primary schools and relationships and sex education (RSE) in all secondary school compulsory.

Guidance for the new subject of health education confirms that all pupils – regardless of their gender – will be taught the facts about menstrual wellbeing.

Commenting on the announcement, Emma Cox, CEO of Endometriosis UK said: “Endometriosis UK is delighted that menstrual wellbeing is included in the new Relationship & Sex Education curriculum and will be compulsory to teach all children in both primary and secondary education. This change will help overcome the taboo and embarrassment around periods, as well as equipping girls with the knowledge of what is and isn’t normal for their menstrual cycle, and in turn the confidence to seek help when it is needed. Importantly, they will also know the correct language to communicate with their parents or medical practitioners.
We are grateful to the Minister for recognising the critical role education plays in ensuring women do not suffer in silence with conditions such as endometriosis; helping drive down diagnosis time which currently averages at an alarming 7.5 years.

We are also encouraged to see a shift in terminology from ‘sanitary products’ to ‘menstrual products’. It might seem like a small change, but we must stop giving the message that periods are dirty by using phrases such as ‘sanitary’ and ‘hygiene’.  
The announcement will be hugely welcomed by over 100,000 people who signed Endometriosis UKs petition in urging the government to make this change that will undoubtedly shift the way society talks about menstrual health for generations to come”.  

Emma Hardy, Labour MP for Hull West and Hessle and member of the Education Select Committee said:
“It is long over-due news that both young men and women will learn about menstrual wellbeing in primary and secondary education. Puberty can be an incredibly confusing time for children and young adults and it’s so important that everybody understands what is and isn’t normal when it comes to their body. In learning more openly at primary and secondary school about menstrual wellbeing, young women will be empowered to seek help when it is needed. Conditions like endometriosis often go underdiagnosed as people do not understand what is and isn’t normal, and a change in the curriculum is the first step to turning this around.

“I am proud to have worked alongside Endometriosis UK, and my constituent Kate who suffers from endometriosis, to campaign for this change that will have a huge impact on young people’s health and wellbeing”.