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Menstrual poverty - a human rights issue Blogs
Menstrual poverty - a human rights issue
Eman Asghar December 10, 2022

What is period poverty?

Lack of access to sanitary products, education about menstrual hygiene, washrooms, sinks for washing hands, and/or waste disposal is referred to as "period poverty." 

Additionally, the word refers to the heightened economic vulnerability that women and girls experience as a result of the high cost of menstruation supplies. The availability of sanitary items such as pads, tampons, and cups is limited in the least-developed and low-income nations.

Period poverty in all its reality

Millions of people are affected daily by the lack of access to menstrual products, which forces them to make inadequate substitutions such as using toilet paper, cardboard, rags, paper towels, or even old pads. Additional expenses for painkillers and clean underwear, not to mention the cost of infrastructure requirements like flowing water for toilets and sinks for handwashing, as well as hygienic waste disposal, all create a high barrier that many people are unable to overcome.

The social costs of not having access to menstruation products are also significant. Many females tend to skip school and other extracurricular activities because of periods. This can surely make them experience loss in their education and endure emotional and psychological well-being. Some individuals may choose between feeding their family and buying menstruation products because period supplies are not covered by insurance.

Harmful choices

Alternatives like rags, paper towels, or old pads could fill a temporary need, but they don't provide a long-term fix because they increase the risk of diseases like yeast infections, urinary tract infections, and bacterial vaginosis.

The implications of period poverty go beyond the physical and financial aspects, as there are several negative effects on mental health that can result from not having enough menstrual supplies, including increased anxiety, low self-esteem, and depression.

Efforts to reduce menstrual poverty

Menstruating people continue to suffer the most from periods of poverty, and while there is no simple fix for such a complicated problem, there are important actions that we can take to end the inequality and give millions of people back their dignity. It consists of:

  • changing the way that people talk about menstruation and menstrual products. These items are a medical requirement and a right, not a luxury.
  • removing the state's VAT on menstrual & personal hygiene products
  • supplying free, high-quality menstrual & personal hygiene products to healthcare facilities, prisons, homeless shelters for both men and women, and educational institutions.
  • enabling administrators and medical staff to push for free access to menstrual products in hospitals and other healthcare facilities.
  • Increasing the number of toilets with access to free period supplies that are gender-neutral.
  • removing the stigma and taboo associated with menstruation.
  • allowing free-period products to be used in all public spaces and workplaces.
  • Menstrual health education in schools.
  • Medicaid must pay for the price of period products.
  • Menstrual health awareness can be made by arranging seminars and sending health awareness teams to such areas.
  • General awareness can also be spread by having common talks with each other.
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