Period In Human Rights Perspective -2- Period Poverty

En son güncellendiği tarih: Nis 6

In the first article of this series "Period In Human Rights Perspective", we talked about menstrual product taxes and the effects of the taxes on people with lower incomes. I want to talk about period poverty in this article. What is this ‘’period poverty ‘’ that millions of women face every month all around the world? What does it mean?

It means that those women have no or very limited access to menstrual products because of the high prices because states tax those products as luxury items although they are necessary and daily products. So, every month women have to decide between food and period products. When they don’t have access to them, menstruators are often forced to use stuff like old rags, paper towels, and reused pads. Those poor menstrual hygiene solutions cause physical health risks and have been linked to productive and urinary tract infections according to UNICEF.

Period poverty doesn’t only mean lack of access to period products but also toilets, hand washing receptacles, and hygienic waste management. The term also refers to issues of shame, stigma, and lack of education about menstruation. Due to stigma associating menstruation with incleanliness and disgust; women feel shame and fear about having their periods which prevents people from talking about relating issues.

we should also mention trans people when we speak about period poverty especially the shame factor; because not every woman are a menstruator and not every menstruators are women and even in a scenario where they have access to the needed products they need a gatekeeper in order to have access to this becomes a bigger issue. Period shame also has negative effects on mental health like depression, elevated anxiety, etc., and causes a lack of confidence and self-empowerment in women.

As a result of period poverty, girls often miss school during their periods and this causes a lack of education which ends in an increase in child marriage, early pregnancies, malnourishment, domestic violence, and pregnancy complications. During this pandemic period, poverty became a bigger issue caused by unemployment, price inflations, and product shortages.

To end period poverty, we need to normalize periods and break taboos and enforce new policies. Activists and advocates are using social media effectively to share information and put pressure on the governments. We can also share information and support NGOs to help. Remember our individualistic acts matter!