Period poverty; refers to having a lack of access to sanitary products due to financial constraints.
One in 10 young women experience period poverty in the UK and resort to socks, newspapers, or doubled-up pants because they can’t afford menstrual products. As a result, they are missing school days.
Period poverty has long-term consequences
Almost 138,000 girls in the UK missed school last year because they couldn’t afford sanitary products. Not only does this impact their school work, but confidence levels too. Issues such as toxic shock syndrome and not washing blood-soaked pads or underwear regularly can also cause long-term problems.
You can support various organisations
The Red Box Project campaigns for free sanitary products in schools; Bloody Good Period, provides menstrual products to people who can’t afford them; Amika George is a prominent period poverty campaigner and the Cup Effect, makes menstrual cups more widely available around the world.
Gina Rodriguez, among others are fighting
In an essay for Teen Vogue, actress, Gina Rodriguez said: “This is a problem happening here and now. Many girls will miss out on opportunities to grow ― but not because they don’t have the aptitude or drive to succeed.” Emma Koubayssi is committed to raising awareness of the issue and has launched ‘The Bloody Big Brunch’, where punters buy Bloody Marys by donating sanitary products to period poverty charities.
So far the event has taken on Glasgow and London – a total of 300 guests attended the two events. Emma, who co-founded the event, hopes to hold two more in Manchester and Edinburgh later this year. With period poverty affecting thousands of women across the world, here’s what she wants you to know about the issue.The Duchess of Sussex is passionate about this issue, writing in Time magazine after visiting India in 2017: “In communities all over the globe, young girls’ potential is being squandered because we are too shy to talk about the most natural thing in the world”.
It is an international issue
Period poverty is a worldwide phenomenon. India, Kenya and Cambodia have battled for years to prevent girls from dropping out of school. In November, the Indian state of Kerala launched its She Pad scheme, which will distribute free pads in around 300 schools. Research from Ethiopia shows 25 per cent of girls there do not use any menstrual products.
Period poverty isn’t only a female issue
Talking about period poverty is a crucial starting point. Frances Ryan says: “Period poverty is in many ways the hidden side of British inequality: women and girls in one of the richest societies in history stuffing socks inside their underwear and being trapped in their homes each month.”
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Author: Scarlett Victoria Clark
Scarlett Victoria Clark is Founder and Editor of SMART GIRL TRIBE and a multi-lingual journalist. She has also written for Cosmopolitan, Harper’s Bazaar, Women’s Health. When not writing she enjoys travelling and shopping for (more) heels.