Millions of women around the world suffer from period poverty. Half of the world’s population is over the age of puberty and menstruates every month. It is a natural biological process that should be manageable in a dignified, comfortable, and hygienic manner by anyone. Sadly, as we have seen, this is not yet the case. There is more to poverty than just affordability, period. Due to stigma, superstition, or religious dogma regarding menstruation, many women and girls do not have access to sanitary facilities or feel unable to manage their periods in a dignified manner.
People who are already struggling financially and physically can feel the effects of menstruation. Period poverty has a significant impact on women globally, affecting their physical health, mental well-being, education, and economic opportunities. Women who cannot afford menstrual products are forced to use unhygienic materials, which can lead to infections and other health complications. They also have limited access to proper sanitation facilities, which can increase the risk of reproductive tract infections.
Reproductive rights, bodily autonomy, and various forms of conservatism regarding female bodies and sexuality can all be intertwined with menstrual care. In point of fact, it is a component of the larger problem of women’s reproductive rights.
Based on an average of 38 years of menstruation and using 10 to 15 sanitary products per cycle over 12 cycles per year, women in underprivileged areas worldwide use over 5,000 disposable menstrual products in their lifetime, according to data. Menstruating women typically spend between $1,000 and $2,000 on period management, which is the bare minimum. Basic sanitary napkins, clothing, and other necessities are included in this price.
How Period Poverty Impacts Women Globally?
Period poverty is a significant issue that affects many women worldwide. It refers to the inability of women to access menstrual products, adequate sanitation facilities, and menstrual education due to financial constraints. As a result, they are forced to resort to unhygienic practices that put their health at risk, including using cloth, newspapers, and even tree bark. This can lead to infections, stigma, shame, and social isolation, making it difficult for women to go to school or work during their period.
Additionally, the lack of access to menstrual products and facilities can further perpetuate gender inequality and limit women’s opportunities. Period poverty is a complex issue that requires collective efforts from policymakers, governments, and communities to address and ensure that all women have access to menstrual products, education, and basic hygiene facilities.
Period poverty is widespread and detrimental to society as a whole as well as to girls and women. Due to their period, many girls are unable to receive an education. The majority of the girls have skipped a full day of school. Decreased productivity, has an effect on the economy. Honest discussions about menstrual health could assist in addressing these issues because schools and workplaces do not consider female menstrual health, despite the fact that it affects a large portion of the population.
We are aware that periods can be unpleasant, in addition to period poverty. Additionally, this contributes to sports and school absences. However, women and girls shouldn’t be ashamed or embarrassed to explain why.
Women may also believe that they are unable to participate in certain sports and activities because they do not have the appropriate menstrual products, are self-conscious, or believe in myths. While it is essential for women who are menstruating to be able to participate in sports if they so choose and not be embarrassed by their period, the message that they should “carry on as normal” as though they were not affected at all is frequently the wrong one.
Women who don’t have access to products for managing their menstrual cycles may also resort to unsafe and unsanitary home remedies. Additionally, it may result in the continued use of products like menstrual pads, which can raise the likelihood of bacterial infections.
Low self-esteem, stress, anxiety, and depression can all be exacerbated by experiencing body shame or embarrassment. Being unable to purchase the menstrual health products necessary to manage a period can add additional stress to the situation. When people are comfortable talking about their periods, it also makes it easier to manage physical symptoms like cramps, headaches, and PMS symptoms.
It is important and should be encouraged for them to ask for what they need, such as advice, products for managing their menstruation, pain medication, or other support.
What Can Be Done To Address Period Poverty?
To address period poverty, a multi-faceted approach is needed that involves various stakeholders, including governments, NGOs, the private sector, and communities. You can participate and contribute in a variety of other ways to help eradicate period poverty. Some potential solutions to address period poverty include:
- Providing free or subsidized menstrual products to low-income communities, schools, and public facilities.
- Increasing access to proper sanitation facilities, such as clean and private toilets and handwashing stations.
- Educating women and girls on menstrual hygiene, including the importance of using clean menstrual products and proper sanitation practices.
- Destigmatizing menstruation by promoting open conversations about periods and raising awareness of period poverty.
- Supporting grassroots organizations that provide menstrual products and education to underserved communities.
- Advocating for policy changes to make menstrual products tax-free and more affordable.
- Encouraging the private sector to invest in sustainable and affordable menstrual products and promote menstrual health.
- Choose menstruation products from brands that support ending period poverty
Period poverty is both an economic problem and one that is perpetuated by long-held cultural beliefs and practices, making it difficult to address. Better education on menstruation and the support of the government, health care, and other public entities are required to end period poverty. ZamZam Foundation and those who support us are putting in a lot of effort in this area. You can sponsor a woman with menstrual hygiene products for life with a $1,000 donation.
You will be given access to a personal dashboard where you can view the progress and utilization of funds in order to provide further clarity and transparency while maintaining the anonymity of the person funded. Additionally, you can contribute to our centers for global period education and awareness. Additionally, donors will receive a lifetime discount of 30% on premium biodegradable menstrual products. Overall, addressing period poverty requires collective action and collaboration from various stakeholders to ensure that all women have access to menstrual products, education, and basic hygiene facilities.