What Is Period Poverty and What Can You Do to Help?
Start writing a post
Community

What Is Period Poverty and What Can You Do to Help?

Period poverty affects women's lives in so many ways, from putting them at higher risk for urinary tract infections and other health problems to affecting their ability to get an education. Here are some of the ways you can fight for access to affordable supplies and reduced stigma around the world.

80
What Is Period Poverty and What Can You Do to Help?

If you have any kind of privilege, then it's very likely that you've never thought about what it would be like not to have that privilege. People who grow up in stable middle class or wealthy families usually have no idea what it feels like to be truly hungry or to worry about having electricity or water shut off.

Poverty affects every area of a person's life. Nearly everything we do costs money. But if you've never struggled to pay the bills, then you probably haven't considered all of the ways being poor affects a person's life—including periods. If you've never had to worry about the cost of tossing another box of tampons in your cart, then you may not even be aware of period poverty.

What is Period Poverty?

Period poverty is a term that refers to women living in poverty who struggle to pay for essential menstrual products. Women all over the world are affected by period poverty, even in wealthy countries like the United States. Pads and tampons are not only expensive, but they are also taxed in 30 states and cannot be bought with food stamps.

Women are sometimes forced to choose between buying food for their children and purchasing sanitary products. If they don't have the money, they may be forced to use unsuitable items like toilet paper, rags, or plastic bags to control their menstrual flow. This is uncomfortable and humiliating for women and can even be dangerous in some cases.

Girls living in period poverty who have begun menstruating may be made to stay home from school during their periods, causing them to fall behind, or even leave school altogether. 1.25 billion women don't even have access to a safe, sanitary toilet. Heartbreakingly, studies have revealed that young, school-age girls sometimes resort to trading sex for period supplies.

What Causes Period Poverty?

Poverty affects every aspect of life for those who are struggling to pay for basic necessities. Period poverty is defined by not having access to safe and dignified supplies and solutions. But there's more to period poverty than simply not having enough money to pay for pads, tampons, and access to safe restroom facilities.

One of the biggest causes of period poverty is stigma. All over the world, periods are stigmatized as dirty or impure. In some cultures, these beliefs are still deeply entrenched, despite new laws that have outlawed practices such as banishing women to isolated huts during their cycle, which is still common in Nepal.

In other areas of the world, periods are stigmatized to the point where girls miss school during their cycle to avoid teasing. This causes them to fall behind and receive an inferior education to their male peers. These cultural practices are harming women both physically and mentally, reinforcing stereotypes and affecting daily life.

Ways to Help

Period poverty affects women's lives in so many ways, from putting them at higher risk for urinary tract infections and other health problems to affecting their ability to get an education. Here are some of the ways you can fight for access to affordable supplies and reduced stigma around the world.

Advocate for Public Policies Addressing Period Poverty

Period poverty isn't considered a major problem for most people, especially in the United States. But one of the best ways to address the issue is to urge lawmakers to introduce and back policies that support women and make it easier to get menstrual supplies. Ending the "pink tax" on menstrual products is one major goal for activists working to eliminate period poverty.

Legislation directly relating to period poverty isn't the only way to make a difference through policy, however. Supporting policies that are intended to improve the safety of adults and youth experiencing homelessness or women in correctional facilities, for instance, can go a long way toward reducing period poverty.

Raise Awareness via Social Media and Marches

If you're just hearing about period poverty for the first time, you're far from alone. Many people simply have no idea that hundreds of millions of women all over the world don't have easy access to sanitary supplies.

That's another way you can help. Raising awareness to increase support for progressive public policy is something everyone can do. Use your social media accounts for good and share information about the issue. Participate in, or even organize marches to get people talking.

Tackling the problem of period poverty might seem daunting. But if we work together to raise awareness and demand reform, women all over the world will be able to live better, healthier lives, and be able to go through their monthly cycles in comfort and dignity.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
the beatles
Wikipedia Commons

For as long as I can remember, I have been listening to The Beatles. Every year, my mom would appropriately blast “Birthday” on anyone’s birthday. I knew all of the words to “Back In The U.S.S.R” by the time I was 5 (Even though I had no idea what or where the U.S.S.R was). I grew up with John, Paul, George, and Ringo instead Justin, JC, Joey, Chris and Lance (I had to google N*SYNC to remember their names). The highlight of my short life was Paul McCartney in concert twice. I’m not someone to “fangirl” but those days I fangirled hard. The music of The Beatles has gotten me through everything. Their songs have brought me more joy, peace, and comfort. I can listen to them in any situation and find what I need. Here are the best lyrics from The Beatles for every and any occasion.

Keep Reading...Show less
Being Invisible The Best Super Power

The best superpower ever? Being invisible of course. Imagine just being able to go from seen to unseen on a dime. Who wouldn't want to have the opportunity to be invisible? Superman and Batman have nothing on being invisible with their superhero abilities. Here are some things that you could do while being invisible, because being invisible can benefit your social life too.

Keep Reading...Show less
Featured

19 Lessons I'll Never Forget from Growing Up In a Small Town

There have been many lessons learned.

54873
houses under green sky
Photo by Alev Takil on Unsplash

Small towns certainly have their pros and cons. Many people who grow up in small towns find themselves counting the days until they get to escape their roots and plant new ones in bigger, "better" places. And that's fine. I'd be lying if I said I hadn't thought those same thoughts before too. We all have, but they say it's important to remember where you came from. When I think about where I come from, I can't help having an overwhelming feeling of gratitude for my roots. Being from a small town has taught me so many important lessons that I will carry with me for the rest of my life.

Keep Reading...Show less
​a woman sitting at a table having a coffee
nappy.co

I can't say "thank you" enough to express how grateful I am for you coming into my life. You have made such a huge impact on my life. I would not be the person I am today without you and I know that you will keep inspiring me to become an even better version of myself.

Keep Reading...Show less
Student Life

Waitlisted for a College Class? Here's What to Do!

Dealing with the inevitable realities of college life.

125419
college students waiting in a long line in the hallway
StableDiffusion

Course registration at college can be a big hassle and is almost never talked about. Classes you want to take fill up before you get a chance to register. You might change your mind about a class you want to take and must struggle to find another class to fit in the same time period. You also have to make sure no classes clash by time. Like I said, it's a big hassle.

This semester, I was waitlisted for two classes. Most people in this situation, especially first years, freak out because they don't know what to do. Here is what you should do when this happens.

Keep Reading...Show less

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Facebook Comments