What is period poverty?
Period poverty refers to the lack of access to menstrual products and poor knowledge of menstruation often due to financial constraints.
Period poverty is a problem that affects millions of people around the world everyday. Factors like taxes and cultural stigmas in different countries are creating a far-reaching problem that should not exist.
Who does it affect?
This is a problem that exists in both developed and under-developed countries. The lack of awareness about this problem together with the entrenched unhealthy cultural shame towards menstruation, is affecting women all over the world.
According to a study by Plan UK in 2017:
- at least 10% of women were unable to afford sanitary wear.
Thinx together with Period.org, studied the widespread of period poverty on US students. The research shows that:
- 20% of teenagers struggle or were not able to afford feminine hygiene products.
- 61% have worn a tampon or a pad for more than 4 hours because they could not access period products.
- 25% have missed class because of lack of access to period products.
Restricted access to feminine hygiene products affects women in financial distress. It is estimated that there are 16.9 million young women living in poverty in the US and 5.2 million in the UK.
What can be done?
Companies and non-profit organisations are working hard to provide supplies and services to women at risk all over the world.
Last year UNICEF reported having reached 1 million girls and women with menstrual health and hygiene services and supplies.
Body form has been donating feminine products since 2017 and has provided educational courses for young girls about personal hygiene and health.
Companies such as OLUNA are working hard to eradicate the problems that come from period poverty.
OLUNA is a brand new company based in Dallas whose sole mission is to bring attention to the problem and help women in need in the process.
Founder Emmy Hancock, launched OLUNA after moving back home to Dallas because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The “silver lining” for Hancock was being able to finally realise her dream of helping the women she once met in shelters who were struggling to obtain feminine hygiene products.
Hancock, together with local women-owned businesses, created the amazing, completely original pants. Created from a locally sourced fabric, the pants are light, breezy and fashionable; perfect for a chill day at home or going out and about.
To fight the stigma around period poverty, Hancock is proposing to also launch a model for men; this way including men in the conversation.
According to the UN Women Statistics, the poverty rate for women was expected to decrease by 2.7% between 2019 and 2021. The COVID-19 pandemic is now provoking a 9.1% increase.
Because the pandemic is exacerbating existing problems and creating a whole wave of new ones, companies like OLUNA are here to help, because menstruation doesn’t stop for anything.
Even though this problem is not widely known, there are many organisations you can donate to stop this problem. Buying one pair of OLUNA’s pants will provide a year’s supply of period products for an American in need.