The Bloody Big Brunch was originally created by WIRE, a creative agency, who wanted to provide an easy way for people to campaign for change. Previously, the Bloody Big Brunch was a traveling brunch event that asked people to pay for their Bloody Marys with period products. Brunches have already taken place in Glasgow, London, Edinburgh, and Manchester attracting over 5000 donations so far. They have since partnered with Hey Girls who believe that access to menstrual products is a right, not a privilege. As a Social Enterprise, they have one clear goal: for every pack of Hey Girls sanitary products sold, a pack is given away to a girl or young woman in need in the UK.
Celia Hodson, the founder of Hey Girls, said:
At Hey Girls, we believe in doing good, rather than giving shareholders a nice big profit. Our buy-one-give-one model means that for every box we sell, we already donate a box to a girl or woman in need in the UK. In the last year, we’ve donated 2.3 million products to 200 partners but participation in the Bloody Big Brunch will help accelerate the positive moves already being made.
Ahead of a nationwide campaign in March, research published today has revealed that the issue of period poverty is more substantial than previously evidenced. Until now, the statistic of 1 in 10 women and girls in the U.K. being unable to afford menstrual products has been cited, but a new survey held by Ginger Comms, the Bloody Big Brunch and Hey Girls has shown that the figure is closer to 3 in 10 women (27%). 51% of the population (men and women) say that they have either had direct experience of period poverty, or know someone who has.
Of those who’d experienced period poverty:
• 1 in 4 bled through every day or most days of their period
• 68% have had to use a makeshift period product
• Almost half have worn menstrual products for longer than they should have.
• Over a quarter of schoolgirls and women affected have missed school or work because they've been unable to afford protection
Schoolgirls also said:
• That almost 90% of them wouldn’t want to let their teacher know they're on their period but…
• Over 40% would play sport more if they felt more comfortable talking about menstruation
• More than a third of girls have had to educate themselves on periods and how they work.
The survey highlights significant embarrassment around periods across the board.
- Half of men said that they would never buy period products for their partners
- Over half (54%) of all people said that they felt uncomfortable talking about them generally
- 1 in 2 people would describe periods as unpleasant or disgusting.
However, across all genders and age groups, there is a desire for change. 85% would like to see a positive shift in attitude about periods, 85% think that period products should be available for free in schools and colleges - and 89% of people think that distributing period products at school is as or more important than the distribution of condoms.
More broadly, 65% think that period products should be available for free for all women and girls, regardless of income (55% men, 68% women) and 64% (52% men / 69% women) would like to see a more accurate representation of what it is like to have periods on television or in advertising.
In response, a host of organisations and individuals, including Hey Girls, Asda, Absolut vodka, Amika George, Stacey Solomon, and Grace Woodward have come together to back the UK’s biggest-ever brunch, to be held on Sunday 3rd March, which is also the first weekend of Women’s History Month.
Stacey Solomon, was the first to sign up to become a host, said:
I am so excited that the Bloody Big Brunch has gone national. It’s a hugely important issue – and this is an easy way for people to get involved. The seemingly small step of hosting a brunch has the power to make a big difference and I’m looking forward to playing my part.
The Bloody Big Brunch promises to put the issue ‘firmly on the table’ by not only reducing embarrassment around periods but also by making it easy to send menstrual products to where they’re needed most.
As well as a dedicated London event to be held at the Book Club in Shoreditch, the public are being encouraged to host their own Bloody Big Brunch at home, serving Bloody (or Virgin) Marys to friends and family. But there’s a twist - guests should pay for their drinks with period products. By purchasing from the Hey Girls range on ASDA.com, donations are automatically doubled and distributed to charities around the UK, including The Red Box Project, Bloody Good Period, Girlguiding Scotland, YWCA and Freedom4Girls. The campaign aims for 300 brunches to be held and 10,000 women to be helped.
In addition, Bloody Mary recipes – outlining the ‘bloody disgrace’ of period poverty - will also be sent to key members of the U.K. Government as part of a wider lobbying campaign for lasting legislative #FreePeriod change. Indeed, 96% of people questioned believe that politicians should do more on the issue of period poverty.
Lee Beattie of the Bloody Big Brunch said:
As a society, we need to send out the message that menstruation isn’t dirty and it certainly isn’t a luxury. That’s why the Bloody Big Brunch is important. It’s an accessible way to get involved and spread the word that period products are a basic essential - not nice-to-have.
By using fun to highlight fundamental rights, we’re hoping that we can mobilise Westminster, who have been negligent on the issue of periods for far too long.