What is Period Equity, and Why is it Important?

Most societies stigmatize menstruation, and discussions on this topic are often considered taboo. Almost 22 million females living in the United States under the poverty line don’t have enough money to buy menstrual hygiene products. This is referred to as period poverty. An Obstetrics & Gynecology study showed that about 64% of the women in the study reported finding it hard to afford menstrual products like tampons, pads, and reusable products such as menstrual cups more often than not. In addition, 21% said that they weren’t able to buy these hygiene products every month.

Are Period Products a luxury? 

Women can’t avoid going through menstrual cycles of their own volition. It’s a basic fact of their existence. So, menstrual hygiene products aren’t a luxury but a necessity, plain and simple. Sadly, though, subsidies and food stamps under the women, infants, and children (WIC) program don’t cover menstrual hygiene products.

Women who have heavy flows and need to change these products frequently normally face some financial challenges because they’ll need more tampons and pads than the average woman does. If they use these products for more than the recommended time because they’re trying to extend their life, they might end up with vaginal discomfort and vulvar irritation.

Why do we need to address the stigma behind periods

The stigma that surrounds menstruation needs to be addressed. Why? Because that’s how we can both understand and rectify the problems women face when procuring menstrual hygiene products. Period poverty is a very real thing. Period equity should also be a real thing. Unfortunately, taboos and embarrassment may cause people not to advocate for themselves. However, if we can somehow do away with this stigma, society can move toward addressing a problem that half of the world’s population experiences. 

Addressing period poverty 

One of the best ways to address this issue is by not taxing menstrual hygiene products. Just like how food, which is a necessity, isn’t taxed, so should these products. Furthermore, reusable products like underwear and menstrual cups should be subsidized. Their use should also be encouraged so that the we can get rid of excess waste caused tampons and pads.

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