Periods for most women are a difficult time of the month; they’re painful with some women and young girls who has to lie in bed all day due to severe cramps, they bloat us, for some they make us emotional, but for some they are a serious financial concern.
The average cost of sanitary products of brand name such as Tampax cost from €1.80-€4.00 Considering most women go through one box per month, this is a considerable amount for young girls at school or college that do not have jobs.
If we consider the women who are homeless or in direct provision centres surviving on an allowance of €20, we realise how difficult it is to buy sanitary products. Period poverty exists because people forget that this is a need and a necessity and forget that some people have difficulties affording products therefore, they are taken for granted.
In Ireland, public places provide resources used for maintaining good hygiene during your period such as toilet paper, water and soap yet sanitary products such as pads and tampons. So what is so different from providing certain resources but not others?
Periods can be deemed a sexist issue as some people cringe at the mention of a period similar to the issue of breastfeeding. The New York Post published an article revealing that 58% of women have experienced a sense of embarrassment on their period and 42% of women have experienced period shaming. From this same study, 44% of men admitted to have made a joke about a person being on their period.
A group called The Homeless Period Dublin which was set up by Petra Hanlon is a group that tackles period poverty in Dublin City by distributing sanitary products to low-income families and homeless women. The also take in donations also which can be given to drop off locations in Dublin. These include DIT, The Simon Community, Tropical Popical, Urbana and YMCA Ireland.
Students in schools and universities across Scotland now provide free sanitary products since the Scottish government unveiled a plan to spend £5.2m to banish period poverty according to The Guardian. The reason for this came from a recent survey in Scotland of more than 2,000 people by Young Scot found that one in four respondents at school, college or university in Scotland struggled to access sanitary products. Moreover, research by the Grassroots Group Women for Independence revealed nearly one in five women had experienced period poverty.
Public restrooms must provide sanitary products, pharmacies must help in tacking period poverty and so should shops and larger chain shops. More advertisement needs to be put on Organi Cups/ Moon Cups which can last a user years and costs very little to save money and the environment. Organi cups provide descriptions on the easiest way to insert and remove the cup just like a tampon. The only difference is that the Organi cup lasts about five years and the main reason why people replace it is because of a little discolouration.