Period poverty alarming stigma affecting over 500 million women

Period poverty is overlooked in the media due to its perceived insignificance. Over 500 million women worldwide are affected in various ways. 
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What is period poverty?

First and foremost, we must define what constitutes period poverty. Period poverty refers to a sexually mature woman’s inability to afford medical health supplies connected to her monthly period.

This is a major global problem that is frequently overlooked in the media due to its perceived insignificance by male reporters or uneducated or wealthy female reporters. Over 500 million women worldwide are affected by period poverty in various ways. 

Those women are unable to participate in daily life activities such as going to work or school due to their inability to purchase health menstruation or hygiene goods. 

This causes unnecessary mental strain and can embarrass them to the point of self-hatred, which fuels life-threatening thoughts.

Background

Menstrual hygiene, like shelter, food, and water, is a basic requirement. When a woman does not have enough food or drink, for example, it might have a substantial negative impact on her mental health. 

When a person does not have access to menstrual health items, they may use them for longer than they were meant. For example, if a woman has a low income but lives in a high-income neighborhood, she is more likely to use non-menstrual cycle-related options. For example, diapers for children or even toilet paper.

To elucidate this point further, a 2006 study found that in the presence of food poverty, anxiety and depression instances in mothers increased.

Another instance of period poverty, it is estimated that around 30% of women and girls in the UK suffer. This means that they go without sanitary products for long periods of time, and when they have access to them, they have to pay exorbitant amounts for them. This can severely limit their ability to work or even leave the house.

Statistics

According to a research published in 2021, 14.2% of menstrual women face period poverty for a year, with 10% experiencing it on a monthly basis.

In addition, according to the previously cited data, black and Latina women have the greatest rates of period poverty in the previous year.

In 2020, it was discovered that 16.9 million underprivileged American women were unable to purchase menstruation health supplies due to a “luxury tax.”

Statistics show that 10% of women experience monthly period poverty and 14.2% haved experienced it for the past year

Work and education

As previously said, period poverty can have a severe impact not only on mental stability but also on one’s capacity to work, exacerbating the difficulties associated with this issue. 

This problem appeared to be impeding these women’s ability to have successful work lives without missing more days, but that was before the HERproject stepped in. 

The HERproject began providing pads to working women in Bangladesh, as well as changing workplace attitudes about the issue. Days of absence for them decreased as access to menstrual products became more readily available.

Period poverty impacts their capacity to focus and get the most out of school, much like it does in the workplace, and hence has a bad impact on their future. It not only has an impact on their future, but it also takes away their sense of control and has a significant effect on their self-esteem. 

Many schools lack the ability to provide period-related therapy, leaving them with no viable options for menstrual students who miss weeks of education throughout the year.

Menstruation stigma

Menstruation is a natural part of being a woman. It is a sign of being alive and a source of great power. Menstruation is a time of the cycle when women are at their most vulnerable, yet it is also a time when women are celebrated and valued for their unique gifts, strengths, and contributions to society. 

The period is a natural part of a woman’s life, but it is still treated with a level of embarrassment and discomfort that borders on the absurd. From the taboo around discussing menstruation to the persistent myth that women can’t multitask while on their period, menstruation is a topic that is surrounded by stigma.

sanitary pad with blood on it

You wouldn’t think something as ridiculous yet obnoxious as period poverty would exist in today’s society, but guess what? It does exist in every society in our lovely shattered world. 

Period poverty, on the other hand, is hidden below a thick layer of guilt, leaving it unsolved in the end. Efforts are being made to change the unfavorable perception of menstruation, but it will be a long and winding road.

Effort towards finding the solution

Charitable Programs: These charitable programmes should be created to educate menstruating women and provide them with pads and tampons, for example, so that they may properly manage their periods and not use them for longer than they should.

Increasing education: It is true that efforts are being made in this area, but let us confront the terrible reality that we need more, way too much more. 

All throughout the world, schools, organizations, and communities must join together and unite their efforts to eliminate the massive stigma associated with periods…period.

Government support:: In order to resolve this issue, the government must be involved. It must provide help to women who are facing this dilemma by giving menstrual products as well as adequate measures to permanently solve it.

Private firms: Private businesses can help women who are experiencing period poverty by making menstruation goods more accessible, again, such as providing tampon or pad dispensers. As a result, this prospective solution can be used in schools, universities, and businesses, reducing mental stress.

Research: Despite all of these suggestions and potential answers, period poverty continues to be a severe issue. More research is needed to properly understand the psychological consequences of this situation on menstruating women’s psyche.

Conclusion

The effects of period poverty on the lives of women and girls today are devastating. It is a complex and multifaceted problem. 

Women who can’t afford sanitary products often experience debilitating cramps and infections, which can take them out of the workforce and cause them to miss out on important moments in their lives. 

woman lying on her side with her hands on her head and stomach

Girls who do not have access to basic necessities like toothpaste, soap, and shampoo often go without proper hygiene, which can have a devastating effect on their futures. But together, we can stop period poverty.

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