Period poverty is in the news and rightly so.
Periods cost money
Did you know that British women spend around £19,000 on period products? This includes the cost of tampons, towels, pain relief and underwear.
If we take a woman who menstruates for 40 years that works out at about £475 which depending on your circumstances might not seem like loads of money. I would argue that sanitary protection is a basic need and that poverty should not stop you having it.
If you have ever started your period unexpectedly, you will know how embarrassing it is to have stains on your clothing or to leave a mark on a chair.
If we are honest we also know that sanitary products vary enormously in terms of efficacy and much of that is based on the price you pay.
Food or sanitary protection?
If you are mum and it is a choice between feeding your children or not having adequate sanitary protection, what will you do? We know the answer is probably feed the children but what if you need to work and have no sanitary protection and are on your period?
Earlier this year a pilot scheme in Aberdeen was launched to provide free sanitary products to women and girls from low income households, in a bid to tackle period poverty. Lucky Aberdeen but what about the rest of us?
We should be better than this!
It really gets to me that we seem to be no further forward than when my mother started her periods back in the Thirties. She told me she would try and make pads out of sheets of toilet paper.
It is great that food banks are now often encouraging donations of sanitary protection products from members of the public. A lot of us could afford two packets instead of one when we buy sanitary towels or tampons. It could make all the difference to the dignity of a woman and the emotional wellbeing of a family that is struggling. Should women really be reduced to using tissues, newspaper or socks in their knickers to mop up blood from what is a perfectly natural and important bodily function?
What about the girls who can’t go to school because they have no sanitary protection. Education if often the route out of poverty so that’s a real curveball. You want to go to school to escape poverty but you can’t because you are on your period and have no protection because you are poor.
Let’s take action!
Wouldn’t it be great if every blogger or blog reader that could buddied up with a woman or family affected by poverty to offer a monthly supply of sanitary product? As blogs so often give women a voice, it would be great to see bloggers coming together to do something on this issue.
In the meantime, check out Amika George’s #FreePeriods campaign and sign the petition unless you would ever love to be poor and have blood streaming down your legs?
What are your views on period poverty?