With almost 450 periods that an average woman has in her lifetime, sanitary products are expensive and the poorest are unable to access them. Despite reusable products such as Unipads reusable cloth napkins, period poverty is an issue which is increasingly affecting women around the world on account of several stigma.
Here’s why period poverty is a worldwide issue.
1. People don’t talk about it
From sanitary napkins being camouflaged in paper bags and sold to, all the euphemisms on the internet that talk about it, a household issue such as this, menstruation remains an issue which is not discussed openly.
2. Lack of period management education
While few girls are educated about periods, fewer are educated about how to manage periods. While textbooks have addressed it, oftentimes, boys are excluded from the lesson, as if it is shameful. Further more, girls are never given much advice about the menstruation products that are available to them, how re-usable sanitary pads are better than most commercial disposable products and how these would impact their bodies and well being.
3. Period Embarrassment
Survey suggests that 58% of women have felt embarrassed about their period at some point often struggling with the experience of menstruation. Small stains on their clothes, menstrual pain, inability to deal with hormones are not issues that are addressed with well.
4. Impact on women in socially or politically conflicted areas
A lot of the Southern African world such as Kenya, Uganda, Malawi, Tanzania suffers from extreme poverty leaving the menstruating women in immense period apathy. Most women in these areas depend on charity, donations, shelters and camps to receive period sanitation.
5. Period poverty makes women resort to desperate measures
From missing school, to using rags or dry leaves, to exchanging sanitary products in exchange for sex, women have been humiliated, coerced and exploited for ages and continue to be even today. Efforts made by women run businesses such as Unipads, endeavours to provide women with reusable sanitary pads as part of the Dignity Kits distributed in Africa thereby taking a step forward in uplifting the life of women.
6. Period poverty is a human rights issue
Period poverty affects a woman’s right to education, healthy living and a life of dignity. It is an issue of gender equality and despite efforts of NGO’s and state governments attempting to provide better facilities, education and more affordable products need to come into society.