Period refers to having a lack of access to sanitary products due to financial constrains. Many people in developed nations are lucky enough to probably take it for granted, however, girls in developing world end up missing large amounts of their education because of this issue.
Access to food and adequate housing are often what springs to mind when we converse about poverty but ‘period poverty’ is an inevitable aspect for many women in Third Word countries, especially war-torn areas.
Teenagers in extreme poverty zones feel too guilty to ask their parents for sanitary items as there’s already an existing problem of lack of basic needs such as food and water. Additionally, menstruation is still a taboo subject for many people, making it even more difficult to ask for the much needed assistance.
Menstrual Hygiene Management
Lack of access to water and proper menstrual hygiene management robs women an intrinsic component of their personal lives; their dignity and ability to pursue their goals and dreams. Women in the remote corners of the world have no access to basic resources such as the sanitary towels.
For many, menstruation is a rigorous activity, in many ways, accompanied by humiliation and distress. Women and girls usually devour their days of seclusion in the bushes near riverbanks, sitting on sand as a measure to counter their monthly flow. This is sad, but even more depressing is that the ultimate impact of stigma associated with the menstrual blood is a life-long psychological trauma and an unfulfilled life.
Lack of access to menstruation sanitation implements is, frankly, centered on violence against womanhood. Er, Pardon? Yes, you heard that right; we didn't choose the uterus life, uterus life chose us. According to The World Economic Forum prediction, gender gap won't close until 2186. We don’t know about you, but to us, the 22nd Century seems like a very long time to wait. Why not take a step now to ensure that all women, regardless of their age, race/ethnicity and socioeconomic status have access to sanitary towels?
Menstruation hygiene management should not be pigeonholed as an exclusive female burden. Both women and men should address period poverty and set out policies to solve it.
What you can do
You can take action by calling on leaders to introduce access to free sanitary products worldwide.
This would mean girls can spend time focusing on their education rather than worrying about how to deal with menstruation. Keep the conversation goin through social media and different campaigns.
Talk to family and colleagues in order to reduce the taboo and stigma surrounding this issue. Menstruation conversations help other women fell more comfortable to seek help, gain access to information as well as explore available options.
You can also support charities and organizations such as ours that advocate for these issues. Local food banks and homeless shelters are a great start in reaching out to directly help affected by period poverty.