Period poverty. You may have heard of it, but do you actually know what it'sall about?
'Check out when MTV News spoke to J-Law, gal-dem,and period poverty activists Amika George and Grace Campbell...'
Fear not because we’ve got all the answers, sonext time period povertycomes up you’ll betotally clued up and woke AF. And take it from us, you deffo need to be clued up.
What is it?
Period poverty means not being able to access sanitary products when your period comes around because of financial constraints. Simple, right? Wellit gets complicated.
Why is it a problem?
Being able to use sanitary products like tampons, pads or a mooncup when you’re on your period isn’t a luxury (though shockingly sanitary products areoften taxed as luxuries), it’s an absolute necessity. Without them girls aren’t able to manage their periods in a safe, private and dignified way – which is a basic human right.
Period poverty can make girls feel too embarrassed and uncomfortable to be at school on their periods because they’re scared about their classmates seeing and bullying them for it. Girls experiencing period poverty often use unhygienic materials like socks or bits of newspaper to stuff their pants as a cheap replacement for pads.
In some areas of the world, girls stop going to school altogether once they start menstruating, or they stop because missingschool during their period has meantthey’ve fallen too far behind in their studies. Stopping education then means they have a greater chance of falling into child marriage and early pregnancy.
Girls around the world are putting theirhygiene and health, andeven their education, at riskbecause they can’t afford sanitary products, so it’s a very real problem with very real consequences. These products are as essential as toilet paper, and even more urgently necessary. Not enough is being done to make sure women have the products they need every month, partly because people are still so scared to talk about the taboo that is periods.
Definitely another reason to be a feminist, ppl.
What are the stats?
According to a report by UNESCO, 1 in 10 girls in sub-Saharan Africa miss school when they’re on their periods. The World Bank states that in Kenya alone, one million girls don’t go to school due to lacking sanitary pads.We’re talking BIG numbers, worldwide.
The fact that (according to UNESCO) out of 50 low-income countries, on average only 51% of schools have adequate water sources and only 45% have adequate sanitation facilities doesn’t help matters. As most girls can probs vouch for… no one wants to use a dodgy loo around that time of month.
Period poverty isn't just affecting girls indeveloping countries - it's big in the UK too. In fact, aPlan UK 2017 surveyfound that 1 in 10 girls in the UK have been unable to afford sanitary products.
What can we all do to help?
All around the world, periods are still taboo, so one of the best everyday things we can all dois talk aboutperiods. Cos guess what? They’re the most natural things in the world, and nothing to be ashamed of.
Lifting taboos always clears the way for change, and we deffo want change. We want every girl around the world to be able to access sanitary productsand decent toilet facilities at school. Period.
Action Aid isa charity that works on that. They build period safe rooms in schools for girls where there are toilets, sanitary products, spare clothes and showers, so that students never have to let being ontheir periods get in the way of learning. They also make sure girls have access to better period education. So why not donate to them? In fact, they do a specialgiftwhere for £3 you can give menstrual hygiene kits to girls in crisis who can't affordsanitary products.
You could also donate to The Homeless Period in the UK, which provides homelesswomen with free sanitary products.
There are alsopetitions to sign. Once the truth about how many girls were living in period poverty in the UK came out,Free Periods leader Amika George created a petition to demand that all girlswho aregranted free school meals would also receivefree sanitary products. Why not sign it? You could also signthis petition which is asking for free sanitary products in all UK schools.
Above all, remember:you've got the power to change things.
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