What is period poverty?
Period poverty is when there is a lack of access to menstrual products, Sanitary facilities, or menstrual education. People that face period poverty are not able to buy menstrual products and therefore it is difficult for them to maintain even basic hygiene. Period poverty is a major struggle that a menstruator faces when trying to afford menstruation products. There could be many reasons behind this, like economic vulnerability, lack of awareness about menstruation products, or poor hygiene standards.
Period poverty is a serious barrier in working towards period equity. This has made menstruation an expensive affair for many people as well as a major health concern.
What are the causes of period poverty?
- Sanitary products are very expensive and many people are not able to afford what they need to maintain proper menstrual hygiene: Low income is one of the main causes of period poverty. If the income of the family is so low that they are just able to fulfill their food requirement, menstrual products quickly slip from your priorities.
Homeless people also have no money to buy menstrual hygiene products as there are not able to complete their basic needs.
- There is a lack of awareness about the need for menstrual products and their usage in many parts of the world: Many people still are not aware of the products available in the market for menstruation hygiene and comfort. There is a lack of information about these products and sanitary facilities and hence people don’t know what they need to use for their health and sanity.
- In many societies, menstruation problems are kept in silence: Women are not even allowed to enter the kitchen or go out normally when they are on their periods. In many parts of the world, it is a taboo subject, and nobody talks openly about it.
Facts about Period poverty
- It is estimated that globally 500 million people who menstruate have no access to menstrual products and hygiene facilities.
- A study states that for college-aged individuals who menstruate, 14.2% are reported to face period poverty over the past few years. And 10.0% additional ones face it every month.
- In research, it was found that almost two-thirds of women in the US with low income were not able to afford menstrual products in the last year.
How period poverty affects different age groups?
- Menstruation can be very uncomfortable if you do not have the proper products you need. People who menstruate and are taking education in schools or colleges can have a negative impact on their academics. They can be very uncomfortable, uneasy, and not able to participate in any activities due to menstrual leakage or pain.
- People who menstruate and have jobs can have a major negative impact on period poverty. It can prevent them from participating in workforce activities.
- The health issues caused by period-poverty can affect a large number of people. Especially the elderly women, it is hard for them to recover from the infections and diseases caused by it. Period poverty can cause urogenital infections, urinary tract infections, and bacterial vaginosis. It is necessary for women to maintain their health and take care of their menstruation hygiene.
How period poverty affects health?
- Period poverty can affect the health of those who menstruate immensely. Vaginal infections can be very dangerous. They can cause various problems and health issues that can be fatal.
- Period poverty can affect your mental health too. The lack of use of menstrual products can result in leakages or Odor. It can be embarrassing for many people. Period poverty can cause depression or anxiety.
How can we fix it?
- We to be able to talk freely about menstruation and menstrual products. We need to change the thinking of society. There is nothing taboo about menstruation and its products. Every person has the right to be able to talk about it and know about it.
- We can educate girls as well as boys about menstruation at an early age. This can build their thinking from a very early age. They can understand what it is, how it needs to be dealt and what products should be used during menstruation.
- Governments should make it compulsory to make the products available for people who menstruate in their workplaces or schools and colleges.
- The prices of menstrual products should be kept low so that most people could afford them.
Period poverty is a very important issue that needs to be solved globally. No one should have to go through it. We together need to bring the change. It should be everyone’s responsibility including the governments to make the products available for people with low income as well as high income. There should not be any barrier to such an important thing, and we should work together to reduce period poverty.