When we think of challenges that our homeless and underserved populations face, we think of food, housing, and employment – but it’s not likely that we’ve thought of menstruation.
While recent laws have been passed and efforts have been made to make menstruation products available to women in schools, prisons, and typically in the workplace, there is still an immense level of “menstruation poverty” – or a lack of accessibility, affordability and options for period products, like liners, tampons, and pads.
Former Chief of Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene for UNICEF, Sanjay Wijesekera, called access to menstruation products for young girls a “fundamental issue of human rights, dignity, and public health.”
UNICEF is one of the largest organizations doing work to make accessibility to soap and water – a critical part of menstruation hygiene, a reality in the least developed countries. In many of these, only 27% of the population has facilities for handwashing in the home.
Brands are giving back
In America, lack of access to these products is responsible for keeping young girls out of school – obviously affecting education, and social development, among other things.
With the rise of subscription period product companies, also comes a degree of social give-back programs.
For example, Tampon Tribe, a totally organic, toxin-free, hypoallergenic product company, donates a feminine hygiene day pack for every month of product purchased. They also make sure to keep their products as low-cost as possible, to support a higher-degree of accessibility for quality, safe products. You can even get 20% off your purchase right now with code POPPOS, (thanks, guys!).
Larger corporations have also joined the fight. Always, for example, has their #EndPeriodPoverty campaign, where they partnered with Feeding America on a mission to donate 15 million pads – completed once in fall of 2018, and again for International Women’s Day this year.
How can I help?
Make sure you’re giving your business to companies that donate menstruation products to women and girls in the U.S. and beyond.
On top of access, it’s important that women have access to a choice of products. Not every person is comfortable with a tampon, and vice versa. Hosting a “packing party” and providing an array of materials to shelters and organizations in need is an awesome way to get involved and impact your immediate community. Period.org offers support for this, with Amazon links to purchase, and even an official stamp so you can partner with their movement.
Are you doing something to eliminate #PeriodPoverty in your community? We want to know! – SR
Sara Remus is the founder and Executive Director for Pop Culture Positive. A California native, she lived in the golden state’s high desert and Central Valley until 2015 when she relocated to Boston to start a new East Coast life. She is passionate about creating spaces for inclusion, critical thinking, and changing how we handle body image. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter.