What we need to know about Period Poverty
By Zainab Nasir Ahmed
AREWA AGENDA – Period poverty is a lack of access to menstrual products, education, hygiene facilities, waste management, or a combination of these. It affects an estimated 500 million people worldwide.
Period poverty causes physical, mental, and emotional challenges. It can make people feel shame for menstruating, and the stigma surrounding periods prevents individuals from talking about it.
Being unable to manage period by girls can make them feel upset, distressed, and uncomfortable. Research has found that a lack of access to these products can negatively affect someone’s mental health.
Ladies who menstruate can have a negative experience of school if they are uncomfortable, distracted, or unable to participate due to menstrual leakage and odor.
This experience can have long-term consequences. Poor school attendance affects a person’s future earning potential, self-esteem, health outcomes, etc.
The shame associated with periods prevents people from talking about them. This leads to a lack of dialogue regarding access to menstruation products, the tax on these products, and even the ingredients that they include.
How do we end Period Poverty?
Period poverty is a global public health crisis requiring serious attention. Some ways in which people can combat period poverty include:
National advocacy: Girls and women need the support of governments to provide adequate infrastructure and access to affordable menstrual products.
Increased education and knowledge sharing: Knowledge sharing between organizations, in communities, and in schools can include girls and women in the conversation and provide education on the subject matter.
Further research: More research is necessary on the effects of period poverty and how to combat it.
Legislation: Protective legislation can ensure affordable access to proper facilities and menstrual hygiene products. Governments can also reduce taxes on menstrual products, making them more affordable.
Zainab Nasir Ahmad
Youth Society for the Prevention of infectious Disease and Social Vices
Zainab wrote this piece in 2019 and shared it again in the spirit of Menstrual Hygiene Day coming up on 28th May.