In the year 2022 period poverty should not be a thing, all girls, women, and people that menstruate should have access to safe sanitary products. This unfortunately is not the case for everyone, period poverty is very real and according to Global Citizen period poverty affects around 500 million people across the world. I was shocked to read these heartbreaking statics and I’m sure as a reader you are too. We need this to end, the shame, the discomfort, all of it. Periods are normal and everyone should feel safe during their period.
I started my period when I was 13 and since then have had one every month, some more difficult than others. However, one privilege that I have had during these periods is constant access to sanitary products. I could not imagine the difficulty of not having access to these necessary products which I need for 1 out of the 4 weeks for the month. Sanitary products should be available for everyone who has their period, regardless of their geographical location, age, ethnicity, and financial status. There are still too many women around the globe that do not have consistent access to sanitary supplies during that time of the month. Women deserve to feel safe, comfortable, and secure when on their period, whether they prefer to use pads, period panties, tampons, or menstrual cups. That should be their choice and we should all have access to these options.
By not having access to the correct menstruation products, women are affected in their day to day lives, whether this is physical such as having to wear unclean underwear or using unsafe items such as leaves to clean themselves. Or even being affected mentally, for example having increased anxiety around that time of the month. These effects can cause girls to not attend school and women to miss work or university. Action Aid reported that 28% of young women (those aged 16-24) missed their education, whether this was school or university because of their period. This should not be the case. Why should young women have to miss out on their education because of their period, a natural and normal cycle in their lives?
I have noticed that more people and organisations are becoming aware of the importance of having access to period products. For example, we have Menstrual Hygiene Day which falls on the 28th of May each year. This day highlights and raises awareness of those who do not have access to resources to practice regular menstrual care. Also, at my university (University of Leicester), I have noticed that in bathrooms there are free pads and tampons available for menstruating people to use. Bodyform, which is a UK period products company partnered with the NHS Blue Light Scheme during the COVID-19 pandemic to support NHS frontline workers with sanitary care products. All of these ways of creating awareness and helping period poverty are amazing, I would encourage you to get involved too and you can at Your Small Appeal.
Here at Your small Appeal, we pride ourselves on ensuring that we make a difference in women’s lives around the world; in particular their periods. We are a Leicester based charity that focuses on helping young women in particular in Africa to have access to sanitary products, panties, and bras. By donating to Your Small Appeal, you will be making a positive difference in young women’s lives. I am so proud to be a part of a charity that’s focus is on something so personal to everyone, we all know someone that has a period whether that is a family member, a friend, or even a colleague. I know that if you are reading this, you want all of your loved ones with a period to have access to proper sanitary products as do others who don’t have the means to help their loved ones. That’s why it is so important that you donate if you can. If you are unable to donate that is okay! We understand that during this current climate of increased bills and general cost of living not everyone will have the ability to donate spare products or money. Even reading this article and following our social media platforms and engaging is making a difference in increasing awareness. We are calling for an end to period poverty, now.
Written contribution by Emily Braithwaite.
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