You may not know it, but period poverty is actually a huge problem worldwide for people who menstruate because they are unable to afford sanitary products. There has always been a lot of stigma and shame around menstruation (periods) which has made it harder for people, particularly younger people, to talk about their periods and ask for support if needed.
Did you know that globally over 500 million people do not have access to period and hygiene products they need when menstruating? Period poverty is a public health crisis that affects many people even in those countries that are seen as ‘wealthy’.
Period Poverty Affects
– Mental health and wellbeing – being unable to manage periods with the appropriate menstrual products can make people feel stressed, upset, self-conscious, isolated and uncomfortable.
– Health and hygiene – In not being able to afford or easily access period products when needed other things such as toilet paper and rags are used. This can impact the health and hygiene of the person leading to urogenital and urinary infections and bacterial vaginosis.
– Education and work – We know that even when we do have easy access to period products there is sometimes that feeling of worrying about leaking. With period poverty this worry, or fear can increase where the person feels uncomfortable, constantly distracted and feel they have no sense of ‘control’ so will often miss school or work around the time of menstruation.
How can we end period poverty?
We can start to end period poverty by becoming more aware of it, knowing that it’s happening, educating ourselves and sharing this with others. There are many organisations and campaigns around the world now working together to reduce period poverty. In making period products free or affordable it will also reduce this. Some countries are not taxing period products to reduce the cost of them, this is known as the ‘tampon tax’. With this affecting more than 500 million people globally though it looks like more needs to be done to change this!
21st-22nd of March is #redrebelday – Red Rebel Day is about bringing awareness to period poverty and working together so that people across the world do have access to period and hygiene products.