The menstrual cycle is a natural and healthy part of being a woman. Opportunity International Australia said that around 800 million women menstruate every day, but this could be a source of stress and shame for those living in poverty. According to the International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics, about 500 million worldwide are affected by period poverty due to financial constraints.
Period poverty may be the lack of access to sanitary pads, menstrual hygiene education, hand washing facilities or toilets, and waste management.
In a previous report by Science Times last June, New Zealand Prime Minister promised to end that problem in their country through a law that will give free tampons and sanitary pads to high school girls, particularly those ages nine to 18.
But period poverty does not only happen to them; it happens around the world. Below are some issues concerning period poverty that has worsened due to the pandemic.
1. Period poverty during the pandemic
According to Teen Vogue, access to menstrual products had become even more of a problem when the pandemic started as people cannot easily get free tampons and pads like they once did when schools and public facilities were open.
Not to mention that people at the start of lockdown did not have enough money to spend on their periods due to the high unemployment rates, Mashable reports.
Moreover, the supply has also become a problem. With the supply-chain shortages, women will also not have any access at all to menstrual products.
2. Unaffordable menstrual products and lack of donation
Menstrual products like tampons, pads, and cups are the least donated supplies to food pantries and shelters, said Samantha Bell, the National Alliance for Period Supplies. This implies that women need more affordable and accessible menstrual products.
3. Increased health risk due to unhygienic practices
According to the National Family Health Survey, only about 48% of women in India's rural areas use sanitary pads as women and girls resort to using unhygienic and unsafe methods in managing their periods. Women and girls would wear traditional clothes or sometimes sawdust.
They would wash and dry the clothes discreetly in damp and unhygienic places that attract and harbor bacteria that leads to reproductive and urinary tract infections.
4. It's not just periods
For many women in some cultures, their periods cause them shame and stress. Women and India who are having their period are considered unclean and impure and are barred from entering some establishments or worship places.
Moreover, period poverty also affects one out of ten women's mental health because they believe that having periods hampered their socialization skills.
Knowing about poverty could help millions of girls and women live a healthy life without worrying too much.
Check out more news and information on Period Poverty on Science Times.