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The Period Poverty that Is Affecting Our Nation

By HERWriter
 
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When you got your period, you may have been slightly embarrassed. You may have figured out how to use a pad and tampon and then went on your way.

That was that.

For most women around the world, the story reads a little different.

35 states in the US have a tax on feminine hygiene products. Why? They are considered “non essential goods.”

Um…what is more essential than making sure that you don’t bleed straight through your pants?

Period poverty affects a staggering number of American women, from girls who have to miss school because of a lack of access, to women in prison who have to beg male guards for period products. (1) It is not just an issue with developing countries. This affects all women, everywhere.

In fact, the numbers themselves are staggering. One in four American teenaged girls has missed class due to the lack of access to menstrual products. (2)

We are a tribe and it is time that we recognize that this is simply not okay.

Menstrual products are also not covered by food stamps for the more than 25 million women living in poverty in the US. And menstrual products are among the top material cost of being a woman.

This is a government issue and a human issue that is gaining more traction. There are petitions and action by major cities to make these products more affordable for low income individuals. New York City, for example, has made menstrual hygiene products free in homeless shelters, prisons and public schools.

If we supply toilet paper, soap and water, then menstrual products certainly should be included.

They should by no means be considered “non essential.”

Reusable pads (brand new ones) are a great thing to drop off at a homeless shelter, but they are only helpful to a point. The majority of products are designed to merely last a year. They also require privacy, access to clean water, and a place to dry them daily.

Movements are calling for free pads and tampons in restrooms and public spaces around the world. There is legislation calling for the elimination of the tampon tax (or “pink tax”) at the state and municipal levels. This tax basically works as a luxury tax for anyone who menstruates.

Sources:

 

1.    Magistretti, Berenice. FemBeat: Period Poverty Is a Thing, Even In The US. Forbes. https://www.forbes.com/sites/berenicemagistretti/2019/01/25/fembeat-period-poverty-is-a-thing-even-in-the-u-s/#2deede51569eRetrieved 29 November 2019.

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Let’s End It. CNN. https://www.cnn.com/2019/10/21/perspectives/period-poverty-menstrual-products/index.htmlRetrieved 29 November 

Add a Comment1 Comments

HERWriter Guide

I agree that feminine hygiene products should be where toilet paper is and available to all women, free of charge. 

Feminine hygiene products are far too expensive. If men used them, they'd be half the price and would certainly not be taxed. It's humiliating to have to beg for them. 

It's also good to remember them when donating paper supplies/dry goods to homeless shelters and food banks. 

Best,

Susan

December 6, 2019 - 12:31pm
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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