NHS period website omits word ‘girls’ as part of health service inclusivity offer

An NHS website aiming to provide advice on menstruation has removed the word ‘girls’ from its pages.

Bloody Brilliant, a menstruation information website created for NHS Wales and the Welsh Government last August, now refers to people with periods as “young people who bleed” and “half the world’s population”.

The words “women” and “woman” appear a handful of times on the nearly two dozen pages of advice on Bloody Brilliant.

Instead, the website opts for direct messaging, referring to readers as “you” to convey rules information.

On its page on what periods are, it reads: “Your period or period (that’s the ‘scientific’ name) is part of your menstrual cycle. This cycle is ultimately how your body prepares for possible pregnancy.

It comes after the NHS removed the words ‘woman’ and ‘women’ from its menopause and ovarian cancer pages as part of an update to improve inclusive language.

A spokesperson for NHS Digital said in a statement that the health service monitors web pages “on an ongoing basis to ensure they use language that is inclusive, respectful and relevant to the people who read it”.

The decision to remove the words ‘woman’ and ‘women’ from its pages was criticized by former health secretary Sajid Javid, who said he ‘didn’t think it was right’.

Theresa Villiers, Tory MP for Chipping Barnet, slammed Bloody Brilliant during an interview with Sky News Wednesday morning (August 10).

She said: “I think it’s a mistake to remove terms like ‘women’ and ‘girls’ from these kinds of websites, I don’t think the reference to ‘bleeding youth’ is appropriate.

“We cannot be in a situation where terms like ‘women’, ‘mother’, ‘daughters’ are taken out of our discourse,” Villiers added.

However, the move was hailed by others on social media.

“It’s great to see!” one person wrote. “Trans men and non-binary people often menstruate, so using gender-neutral language makes sense. Thank you @NHS for being inclusive!

The Independent has contacted NHS Wales for comment.

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