Period Poverty: what’s it all about?

Today I thought I’d write a post about period poverty, as this is a really important topic.

Period poverty affects women all across the world, and it is a lot closer to home than you may think. In the UK, 1 in 10 girls aged 14-21 cannot afford to regularly buy menstrual products.

But while this topic may be important to modern society, worryingly little is known about it. This post discusses what period poverty really is, and how it affects women across the globe.

What is period poverty?

Period poverty is a lack of access to menstrual products for women and girls across the world.

Some women have little access to menstrual products due to stigmas, or a lack of understanding of what happens to women’s bodies during this time. And some people simply cannot afford to buy the menstrual products they need, such as tampons or sanitary towels. But the common factor is that period poverty stops women from effectively managing their time of the month, an issue no one should have to face.

Periods are stressful, painful, and annoying for everyone involved. There’s no getting past the inconvenience or pain. But no one should have the added stress of not being able to effectively manage their period simply because they can’t afford the appropriate sanitary products.

Despite recent changes, in many countries menstrual products are still considered a “luxury”, with a worldwide lack of recognition for the importance of these products. But menstrual products are so important- they allow women to carry on with their lives. And so this issue is so important to understand.

What are the effects of period poverty?

Period poverty has a huge effect on daily life. It affects physical and mental health. A lack of access to sanitary products means women experience issues surrounding hygiene and safety throughout their period. And the effect on women’s mental health can be even more damaging.

Those who can’t afford to buy sanitary towels or tampons often feel as if they can’t go outside. Without menstrual products, there’s no way to control bleeding, and women feel embarrassed resuming their daily life. As well as causing a feeling of self-consciousness, there is also a more important issue at stake. Period poverty leads to many women and girls missing out on school or work every single month, simply due to the lack of available essential products.

Period poverty can affect all ages. While young people have been the priority of charitable campaigns- attempting to maintain a high level of school attendance for  students on their period- those of all ages can be affected by this. Some mothers have to make the choice between food for their child, or effective sanitary products.

How can you help?

This is an important issue, and it is clear that period poverty affects women in all countries across the world. Whether it’s a lack of access to essential products, or insufficient funds to pay for tampons every month, period poverty affects different women in different ways- but it is a problem that needs to be addressed.

Certain charities, such as Oxfam, do a lot of work for girls in developing countries, aiming to help young girls get access to school even during this difficult time of the month, and removing the stigma surrounding periods.

Many food banks (such as the Trussell Trust) arrange for food parcels to be sent to families in need in the UK. As well as food, these families are often given sanitary products. These food banks are always looking for more donations, and it’s important to remember that both food and sanitary products are essential items for many families in need.

There’s also a lot of independent groups lobbying for change. These groups lobby for free tampons and sanitary towels to be accessible in public bathrooms, particularly those in schools and universities- where period poverty can be at its worst. Joining or donating to these groups can help access to free products.

Even if it’s just a donation of an extra packet of sanitary towels, this can make a massive difference to someone who would have otherwise not been able to attend school for one week every single month.

Do you know much about period poverty? Do you think this is an important topic to discuss? Can you think of any other ways to help the problem?

Let me know all your thoughts in the comments below.

Happy reading x

65 thoughts

  1. The fact that women struggle to afford basic needs, needs not covered by medical insurance or food stamps in the US, is disturbing. Just one more instance where we as humans need to do better

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I think schools are starting to take a more proactive role in looking out for students in this way, as you say, which is great! Thank you so much for your thoughts. I agree that this is an important topic, and I’m glad there are lots of like-minded people who can see the struggles women face every month!


  3. It’s so sad that this is still an issue in our society. Women need to be able to have equality here in order to have overall equality.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I completely agree- it’s an important topic. It’s an inevitable part of women’s daily lives so it shouldn’t be a problem for so many woman across the world. Thank you for your kind words


  5. There’s also the fact that in the US, these items are taxed. It’s like a tax on being female and it’s bizarre. Sure, maybe they’re not a literal NEED like food, but in this world, they aren’t too far from it.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Honestly, these products should be as essential as toilet paper and toothpaste. It’s hard to believe that in this day and age girls have to miss school for that reason. Thanks for spreading awareness about this issue.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. This is so insightful and something we should be talking about more. I could not imagine not having access to menstrual products and have no idea how I would handle that. It’s so important to spread awareness about this

    Liked by 1 person

  8. As a teacher in an urban district in the US, I agree that this is a huge problem. I am handing out products on a daily basis because the parents cannot afford to provide them. Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. This was a really informative and insightful read. I clicked because I was really curious about the term ‘period poverty’ and I definitely do take for granted how easily accessible sanitary products are where I live when this is not the case of many people 😦

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I completely agree, just in general periods and women’s health need to be considered more in education etc. and not seen as a “taboo” subject. Thanks for commenting, I’ll definitely check out your post

      Liked by 1 person

  10. It is truly shocking that this continues to be an issue for so many people. It is the one thing I try to add to the food bank whenever I shop because it is completely unacceptable that people have to go without.

    Thank you for sharing and highlighting a really important issue x

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Such an important topic – it’s always angered me to see how expensive sanitary products are and it’s so unfair that so many young women and girls have to suffer. I love how some schools have started to do more to help the situation – while more still needs to be done it’s a step in the right direction. Thank you for sharing and raising some awareness x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your kind words 🙂 I agree, it;s an issue no one should have to face, but it’s lovely to see certain initiatives. My university has started raising more awareness and I think it’s a step in the right direction, as you say x

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Thank you so much! I completely agree, it’s not even just menstrual products that are the problem, you’re right. I’m glad I could help a little in your understanding, your kind words mean a lot ❤️


  13. I honestly didnt know this was an issue considering the Planned Parenthood places I thought were helping women in difficult situations. Shows my ignorance about the topic. Thanks for shedding light on this.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Honestly, the issue of poverty period is rampant all over the world and it’s so unfair that girls have to go through so much pain, stress and still not have access to basic needs. Sanitary pads should be made free, for something that is natural, it should be free for all and girls be educated about it. I’m so glad you shed light on this issue, thank you for sharing

    Liked by 1 person

  15. In the country I live in, many people still don’t like talking about periods. I also have a friend whose mother hesitates to talk about periods with her daughter. Recently I posted on social media regarding world menstrual day and I was criticized by both male and female friends. A male friend texted me and told me that women shouldn’t talk about menstruation in public. So I decided to write it out on my blog. I don’t think that women should be stopped from talking about periods. It’s natural and how we are made and talking about sanitary methods, I am from India and only 15% of Indian women use options like pads, tampons and cups. Others use just cloths or rags. Some don’t use at all because they can’t afford it. It’s very important to make all sanitary pads available for free.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for your comment. I agree, menstruation and women’s experiences are so imputant to discuss, and I’m sorry you had such a backlash for talking about a topic which is both natural and important to so many people. I guess we have a bit of work to do to make it seem as an acceptable topic to discuss openly. Thank you for your kind words, good luck with your blog x


  16. This is SO important and something many people do not realize. These products come at an expense, one that isn’t covered by government assistance. There needs to be more sustainable and cost effective items (instantly thinking of period cups).

    Anyway, thank you for sharing this and opening our eyes to the issue.

    Liked by 1 person

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