Period poverty is the lack of access to sanitary products. This is a massive issue around the world. As someone who menstruates, it is essential to have access to affordable menstrual products, safe hygienic spaces to use them and a place to manage this time of the month free from stigma.
Unfortunately, not everyone has these resources, leading to people’s well-being, education and sometimes entire lives being affected. In the UK alone, 1 in 10 people can’t afford to buy menstrual products, while 1 in 7 has struggled to afford them.
How does this affect someone’s education?
This can have a detrimental effect on someone’s education. 49% of women across the UK have had to miss school because of their period and even more have had to lie just to get out of lessons because they cannot manage their period. If a pupil missed school every time they have their period, they are set 145 days behind their fellow students, not to mention the level of discomfort they must be experiencing. Studies conclude that the knowledge of effective treatments for period pain is low and people with period pain experience reduced classroom performance and a lower level of class attendance.
The Menstruation Taboo
Another problem intertwined with period poverty is the taboo surrounding menstruation, this can be particularly harmful to people going through puberty. It had been found that many young people were embarrassed by their period and therefore did not talk about the problems they experience or get help.
These problems can then spill over into adulthood, as those who do not have access to manage their period as a child are less likely to as an adult, meaning they can miss days at work, and not reach out for help when something is not right leading to loss of income overall undiagnosed problems, impacting their overall quality of life.
Join the fight
In 2023 we have invented phones, cured deadly diseases, and even put a man on the moon. But young people everywhere are having to be in pain, miss school, and feel ashamed of something they have no control over. No one should have their lives affected by their period. Below are some charities to check out if you are interested in joining the fight to end period poverty once and for all.
ActionAid: an international charity that works with women and girls living in poverty.
Period Poverty: provide sanitary pads to whose who can’t afford them or can’t access them, both in the UK and globally.
Hey Girls: multi-award-winning period product social enterprise of the year.
Bloody Good Period: fight for menstrual equity and the rights of all women and people who bleed, so that no one is held back by their period or society’s
warped perception of the menstruating body.