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30th Apr 2024

New scheme aims to ‘break the taboo’ around periods in primary schools

Sophie Collins


“The button will be a symbol” of reassurance

A new initiative launched by the Department of Education aims to confront the stigma surrounding periods in primary schools. 

The ‘Buttoned Up’ scheme will ensure school staff wear special button badges, signifying that they can provide period products to students in need. 

Nurse and barrister Ellie Loftus, spoke on The Pat Kenny Show on Monday to highlight the emotional impact of early menstruation for young girls.

She said: “Some girls get their first period at eight – something they can find very hard to process at such a young age.” 

Loftus explained the significance of launching the initiative in schools, emphasising that many young girls experience menstruation during their primary school years. 

She went on to say: “The button will be a symbol for a teacher; they’ll be able to wear the button and say, ‘I’ve got the period products that you need. I’ve got a pad, a tampon, period underwear.’” 

Acknowledging the importance of menstrual education, Loftus underscored the role of schools in filling the gap left by parents who may avoid discussing menstruation with their children. 

She highlighted the need for comprehensive education starting from fourth class to equip girls with the necessary knowledge and resources.

Minister Michelle Hildegarde Naughton confirmed her department’s strong support for the scheme, recognising the discomfort associated with discussing menstruation. 

Naughton stressed the importance of breaking the taboo and empowering young girls, saying: “We need to really try and break that taboo and to empower young girls and have a national conversation about menstrual health.”

With the average age of first menstruation being 12, initiatives like ‘Buttoned Up’ play a vital role in providing support and education to ensure the well-being and comfort of all students.