A YOUNG woman cries alone at the bottom of Market Street; she’s homeless and sat cross-legged outside a SPAR, her sleeping bag and belongings balled up in the doorway. I’m one of the many women of a similar age who have been flittering away money in Zara just across the street. Our lives couldn’t be further apart. I drop all the change in my pocket into her paper cup. She continues to cry, ignoring me. I feel my gesture is empty but I don’t ask any questions. I walk away. But I continue to think about it; the painful anonymity of homelessness and the difficult plight of being a woman on the streets.
We need to talk about periods, period.
Manchester’s escalating issue with homelessness (official 2015 figures stated that the number of rough sleepers in Greater Manchester had risen by 50% over the course of the year) continues to add pressure on Manchester City Council to find some solution to this city-wide problem.,
We’ve recently seen The Homeless Charter introduced, led by local homeless charity Mustard Tree, to ‘outline the principles that establish how people experiencing homelessness should be treated and how the city intends to deal with the problem’.
Yet there’s been little public discourse on the impact homelessness could have specifically on women. Given women only make up 26% of UK‘s overall homeless figures, services have predominantly been 'developed by and for men'. This, unfortunately, means valuable female specific homeless services can get overlooked. After all, you don’t stop being a woman when you’re forced to sleep on the streets. You can’t stop your period. So how on earth are you meant to cope with a monthly cycle when you’re living hand to mouth, day to day?
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