Lets Talk Period Poverty

Imagine if you had to pay 25 cents every time you wanted to use toilet paper in a public bathroom, I don’t know about you but I’d be in a bit of debt by now. The idea seems absurd right? You need to use the bathroom, and you need toilet paper, they can’t charge you for that, but for some reason, that logic doesn’t seem to transfer over to feminine hygiene.

What is Period Poverty? 

1 in 4 women around the world can’t afford menstrual products. It keeps girls from attending school and work. Some girls are even forced to wear cardboard or toilet paper as a substitute. This leads us to period poverty. Period poverty happens when someone can’t afford menstrual products due to low income. Period poverty has become a huge issue in the United States for homeless women as well as girls attending school ( 6th grade- college). According to Cora, a feminine hygiene company, nearly 25 million women live below the poverty line in the U.S., yet menstrual products are not covered by food stamps. 

What are we doing about it? 

Let me start off by saying, not enough

35 of the 50 states in the U.S tax period products as “non-essential goods”, yet items like Rogaine and Viagra are not. On top of this, menstruation is still seen as a taboo topic. Leaving many women who suffer from period poverty to stay silenced. 

Luckily some are standing up, calling for change. Nadya Okamoto is one of the most famous names in the menstrual movement. Okamoto is the founder of a non-profit organization focused on ending period poverty. Others have joined the movement, and the first big win came in 2016 when New York became the first state to pass legislation mandating free tampons and pads in schools, homeless shelters, and prisons. 

There’s still a long way to go on the fight on Period Poverty, but women just like Okamoto are here to continue to push the boundaries until period talk and period equality is a norm.

Women in school today will become CEOs, politicians, and so much more, but to empower these girls, we must first start by giving them access to the comfort of their own bodies.