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  • Writer's pictureToby Sleight

Period Poverty: What’s the Deal?

Period Poverty is the lack of access to sanitary products due to financial constraints. According to the charitable

organization Days for Girls, it is estimated that 500 million women experience “period poverty” in their lives. This is a massive issue, that affects almost every country all over the globe no matter if the country is developed or not.

Throughout studying this worldwide affair, I have gathered how important this issue really is and how it is rarely spoken about. The subject of periods and mentation is still to this day a taboo subject to talk about. From a young age all over the world people consider periods to be gross, unclean, and embarrassing. In worst cases was looking into the stigma of Chhaupadi in Nepal.

The issue with Period Poverty isn’t just about the struggle to afford menstrual products, but what that can cause. This problem can result for a girl to miss out on vital days of education, be exposed to a high risk of damage to their mental and physical health, and damage to their future and also the future economy overall.

Companies such as Action aid, have stated that 137,000 UK girls in the last year have missed school due to the fact that they were menstruating. In a study conducted by Plan International UK alone, 2 million overall in the UK aged between 14-21 have missed school days because of period poverty. What these intense figures highlight is how many girls are missing out on education and struggling to catch up due to a natural biological process and the unaffordability to keep th

emselves cleaned and not to feel shame. Girls who miss education, miss opportunity, and could potentially have grades lowered and a lesser chance of passing exams in futur

e which can impact careers and other life choices. In countries such as a Nepal and Pakistan, young women are required to isolate themselves in a confined room until their “week of shame” had ended, therefore missing out on school days also.

Period Poverty impacts physical health. During the Coronavirus Pandemic women’s rights were considered to be in ‘a bad state’ as menstrual product prices skyrocketed, and supplies were limited. Plan International UK also found in their UK study that 1/5 girls couldn’t afford them and 64% struggled to find products in shops. As a result of this 54% resorted to toilet paper, 8% to fabrics,

6% newspaper and 11% socks.

Cambodia on the other hand had poverty rate increased to 20% during the pandemic also, and of 50% of the population are women, managing menstruation became more difficult. With the average spend limit of $0.94 per person, six pads are $3.00 so women resort to rags and fabrics like women too in the UK.

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