Period poverty is the lack of access to sanitary products, menstrual hygiene education, hand washing facilities, and, or, waste management (Sanchez & Rodriguez, 2019).
When we think of ‘poverty’ we don’t immediately of Period Poverty. However, period poverty affects an estimated 1.2 billion women worldwide (Bilton, 2018).
On average, at least 24 girls from 29 high schools in Jamaica request sanitary products either from their guidance counsellors or school nurses on a daily basis (Hendricks, 2018).
This average implies that there are thousands of girls across Jamaica who cannot afford sanitary products and are having to choose between their education and their periods.
Why is it a problem?
It stops women and girls from reaching their full potential when they miss out on opportunities crucial to their growth. Young girls who do not receive an education are more likely to experience early pregnancies, poverty and domestic violence.Sanchez & Rodriguez, 2019
What can we do to end period poverty?
- Normalize the conversation around menstruation. This will destroy taboos around the natural process that 800 million women experience daily.
- Encourage policymakers to create policies that make menstrual products, sanitation and hygiene facilities easily accessible for women and girls.
- Publicly advocate for the government to prioritize women’s issues and reproductive health by removing tax from menstrual products.
- Donating sanitary products to local schools, charities and organizations.