Period Poverty has huge economic, social and environmental impacts.
Many women and girls affected by period poverty are restricted from equal access to education and job opportunities, simply due to their periods.
What is Period Poverty?
Period poverty is when someone lacks the ability to access sanitary products, appropriate facilities or education about periods.
Period poverty is a worldwide issue and affects millions of women and girls who struggle to afford or access safe menstrual protection.
How does Period Poverty link to Safeguarding?
Wellbeing is a key principle in the Care Act (2014). There’s a strong link between safeguarding and mental and physical wellbeing. If someone’s wellbeing is suffering, they may consider certain actions that put them at risk.
Period poverty is impacting the wellbeing of women and girls.
- Cultural norms and practices often silence the issue of menstruation. Therefore, many women feel too embarrassed or afraid to say that they need sanitary products.
- The lack of affordability or access to period products can cause extreme emotional distress.
- Women’s sense of personal dignity is also affected because of a reliance on ‘make shift’ sanitary products.
- Consequently, women and girls suffering from period poverty have felt unable to attend work or school. This further reduces their sense of positive wellbeing.
The Causes of Period Poverty
Period poverty is caused by lack of access to period products, education or facilities. This is often either due to lack of access or lack of supply.
Lack of access to period products, education or facilities is seen most often where someone is unable to purchase period products due to low or loss of income, or is unable to access the spaces to get them for free.
In recent years we’ve seen a new generation of women experiencing period poverty for the first time due to:
- Disruption to supply chains resulting in many women across the globe finding it harder to access sanitary products in shops.
- The added financial pressures of households due to the covid-19 pandemic, unemployment and rising costs have created a sharp rise in the number of women being unable to afford sanitary products.
- With more women and girls staying at home due to the rise in working from home and with schools being shut during the pandemic, it was more difficult to access spaces that offer free sanitary products.
Research in May 2020 from Plan International UK revealed that the one in every ten girls unable to afford period products increased to three in ten families being impacted by period poverty because of the pandemic.
What is being done to tackle Period Poverty?
- Freedom4Girls have worked with the government to develop the ‘Free Periods’ campaign which has made sanitary products freely available in schools and workplaces.
- Freedom4Girls have developed educational workshops for young people to address the stigma and taboo of periods.
- The Gift Wellness Foundations are working in the UK and globally to tackle period poverty in the most disadvantaged communities.
- Freedom4Girls are accepting donations for sanitary products and have advice on setting up your own donation station to support women in your local community
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