Period Poverty - What is it and what can we do?
The average woman spends 2,535 days of her life menstruating. She has no choice - it's simply biology. So regardless of her economic or social situation, she should buy or otherwise have access to enough bandages, tampons or menstrual cups to bleed for almost seven years of her life.
For many, menstruation is an inconvenience, perhaps accompanied by a lot of unpleasant symptoms such as PMS, bloating and cramps. But for millions of others menstruating, it is far more serious.
WHAT IS PERIOD POVERTY?
Period Poverty, or menstrual poverty, affects women and girls all over the world. Period Poverty is the lack of access to hygiene products, menstrual hygiene education, toilets, washbasins and / or waste management.
Access to hygiene products, safe, hygienic spaces where they can be used, and the right to control one's menstruation without shame or stigma are essential for anyone who menstruates.
But for many, this is not a reality. Menstruation is not only a potential health risk - it can also mean that women's and girls' education, well-being and whole lives are affected.
The cultural shame and stigma associated with menstruation, and lack of resources, prevent women around the world from going to school and work every day. Women and young girls who menstruate are also excluded from basic activities such as eating certain foods or socializing.
Those who menstruate and live in third world countries are some of the hardest hit. For example, 65% of women and girls in Kenya (ranked one of the poorest countries in the world) cannot afford menstrual products. The consequence? Many choose to sell sexual services in exchange for sanitary napkins and tampons.
WHAT CAN WE DO TO COMBAT PERIOD POVERTY?
Half the reason we have menstrual poverty is because of harmful views. Many people see menstruation as 'dirty' or 'shameful'. This makes it difficult for many people to talk about their menstruation and get support when they need it.
It's time for us to get rid of the taboo and start talking openly about menstruation. In this way, we encourage others to feel less embarrassed, and normalize what is natural.
You can also support an organization that works to ensure hygiene products for the world's poor. Every time you buy a product from Kora Mikino, you support them in their fight.