Period Poverty Shouldn’t Have Been a Thing Before COVID-19 Made It Worse. Make Hygiene Products Free.
WHY ARE WE STILL PAYING FOR THIS STUFF?
Having a period frequently involves spending upwards of $200 a year (depending) on boxes of tampons, and that’s just tampons. There are other options, like spending $35 dollars per pair of Thinx underwear or spending around $40 on a Diva Cup, or spending roughly $10 on pads … do you get what I’m saying? It’s expensive and an expense that those who don’t menstruate don’t have to worry about. For some, that’s a nothing purchase. That’s just life. For others, it is the decision between eating or having a tampon for their time of the month.
A recent study in the U.K. shows that right now, young girls are suffering from period poverty despite the U.K. making a pledge to provide free period products in schools and colleges in England. The problem is that with the pandemic, it hasn’t helped, and many young girls missing school because of their periods.
According to HuffPost:
“Those are the findings of the latest Period Equality study by hygiene provider, PHS Group, which highlights an increase in the number of girls who are missing learning due to their periods – 35% of teenage girls took time off school because of their period in the past year, a 7% increase since 2019.”
It isn’t about skipping school because of the discomfort and pain that typically accompanies menstrual cycles. Instead, the pandemic is leading to more difficulty in affording necessary products, leading to some stuffing their underwear with toilet paper in order to go about their lives.
19-year-old activist Molly Fenton talked to HuffPost U.K. about the lack of action to get period products to those who need it. “It’s very worrying to see how little was being done by the people in power, especially now that there are products available,” she says. “These numbers are going to continue to rise, as people are finding it harder than ever to have a stable income.”
Fenton went on to talk about why she believed that Period Poverty still has a stigma around it. “People feel a lot of guilt around it as if it’s their own fault. They see it as something that holds them back. It doesn’t just affect things like missing education but also socially. It affects every aspect of life.”
It shows a problem not only in the U.K., but in the United States, as well. Time and time again, it is on those with periods to deal with them and pay whatever corporations deem a correct price in order to just live their lives. It is up to us, and if we can’t afford it, oh well. In fact, in some states, there are still Tampon Taxes in place, so we’re being taxed just to buy the necessary period products we need to function in life.
Over and over again, we put this price on those with periods instead of finding a way to make it affordable for all (or better yet, FREE). Until then, I’m happy that Period Poverty is being talked about, because maybe there will be a real move forward in getting free period products to people everywhere.
(image: LOIC VENANCE/AFP via Getty Images)
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