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.

40
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.
Olivia White

"The American flag does not fly because the wind moves it. It flies from the last breath of each solider who died protecting it."

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

Separation Anxiety in Pets

Separation anxiety in pets is a real thing and recognizing the warning signs is important.

177474

Since March, Covid-19 required most of the world to quarantine in their homes. Majority of people ended up working from home for nearly five months. This meant pet owners were constantly with their pets giving them attention, playing with them, letting them out etc. Therefore, when the world slowly started to open up again and pet owners began returning to normal life work schedules away from the home, pet owners noticed a difference in the way their pet acted. Many pets develop separation anxiety especially during this crazy time when majority people were stuck inside barely leaving the house.

Keep Reading... Show less
Robert Bye on Unsplash

I live by New York City and I am so excited for all of the summer adventures.

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

The invention of photography

The history of photography is the recount of inventions, scientific discoveries and technical improvements that allowed human beings to capture an image on a photosensitive surface for the first time, using light and certain chemical elements that react with it.

351086

The history of photography is the recount of inventions, scientific discoveries and technical improvements that allowed human beings to capture an image on a photosensitive surface for the first time, using light and certain chemical elements that react with it.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

Exposing Kids To Nature Is The Best Way To Get Their Creative Juices Flowing

Constantly introducing young children to the magical works of nature will further increase the willingness to engage in playful activities as well as broaden their interactions with their peers

1755045

Whenever you are feeling low and anxious, just simply GO OUTSIDE and embrace nature! According to a new research study published in Frontiers in Psychology, being connected to nature and physically touching animals and flowers enable children to be happier and altruistic in nature. Not only does nature exert a bountiful force on adults, but it also serves as a therapeutic antidote to children, especially during their developmental years.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

5 Simple Ways To Give Yourself Grace, Especially When Life Gets Hard

Grace begins with a simple awareness of who we are and who we are becoming.

1111084
Photo by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash

If there's one thing I'm absolutely terrible at, it's giving myself grace. I'm easily my own worst critic in almost everything that I do. I'm a raging perfectionist, and I have unrealistic expectations for myself at times. I can remember simple errors I made years ago, and I still hold on to them. The biggest thing I'm trying to work on is giving myself grace. I've realized that when I don't give myself grace, I miss out on being human. Even more so, I've realized that in order to give grace to others, I need to learn how to give grace to myself, too. So often, we let perfection dominate our lives without even realizing it. I've decided to change that in my own life, and I hope you'll consider doing that, too. Grace begins with a simple awareness of who we are and who we're becoming. As you read through these five affirmations and ways to give yourself grace, I hope you'll take them in. Read them. Write them down. Think about them. Most of all, I hope you'll use them to encourage yourself and realize that you are never alone and you always have the power to change your story.

Keep Reading... Show less
Entertainment

Breaking Down The Beginning, Middle, And End of Netflix's Newest 'To All The Boys' Movie

Noah Centineo and Lana Condor are back with the third and final installment of the "To All The Boys I've Loved Before" series

990458
Netflix

Were all teenagers and twenty-somethings bingeing the latest "To All The Boys: Always and Forever" last night with all of their friends on their basement TV? Nope? Just me? Oh, how I doubt that.

I have been excited for this movie ever since I saw the NYC skyline in the trailer that was released earlier this year. I'm a sucker for any movie or TV show that takes place in the Big Apple.

Keep Reading... Show less
Lifestyle

4 Ways To Own Your Story, Because Every Bit Of It Is Worth Celebrating

I hope that you don't let your current chapter stop you from pursuing the rest of your story.

651366
Photo by Manny Moreno on Unsplash

Every single one of us has a story.

I don't say that to be cliché. I don't say that to give you a false sense of encouragement. I say that to be honest. I say that to be real.

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments