Period Inequity here in the USA
Upon learning what happens in undeveloped countries, I naively thought 'Well, this can't happen here in the USA'. I was surprised to learn that although dangerous period superstitions do not exist, period shame and inequities are prevalent among the low income, homeless, and incarcerated.
Girls and Woman with Low Incomes
According to CNN Business, thousands of low-income students lack the resources to manage basic menstrual hygiene and are denied equal learning opportunities, as they often skip school or classes while having their period as a result. A study conducted by Harris Insights & Analytics of 1,000 teens ages 13 to 19 found 20% — one in five — of teenage girls surveyed can’t afford to purchase menstrual hygiene products.
In a 2019 CBS News interview concerning this topic, a woman was quoted as saying "If you can't even put a loaf of bread on the table, how do you expect a person to buy a box of tampons that maybe $5 and change? Most people don't stop and think about it."
According to TheHomelessPeriod.com, for homeless women, it really is that Dreaded Time of the Month. With limited or no access to sanitary products, they are often are forced to go without.
In a, Oct 2015 Cosmopolitan article, a homeless woman was asked how she managed getting menstrual products. She stated 'Being homeless and having your period just makes everything else worse. Logistically, it's tough just getting pads or tampons, but it's also harder if you don't have access to sanitary facilities to keep yourself clean. That doesn't include having cramps and no way to access pain relievers.'
Women who are incarcerated
For incarcerated women, free pads are distributed however the quantity of pads are not sufficient to meet a typical woman's cycle. In addition, these pads are typically poor quality.
According to a 2019 MotherJones.com article:
- Half of the women said they had to change the free pads they were given at least every half hour.
- 88% of women reported leaking blood onto clothes and bedding
- 80% used homemade pads and tampons
Higher quality feminine protection can be purchased in the commissary at about $6. However, if a woman doesn't have the means to pay, she is out of luck and typically has to resort to making homemade pads and tampons out of toilet paper and scraps of clothing.
Many of us in the 'civilized' world could never imagine having to resort to these options to manage our periods. For girls and women in low income, homeless or incarcerated living situations, this is unfortunately another day in their life.
Femdacity endeavors to do something about this. We would love to partner and walk along side any non-profit organization and offer our period management products to girls and women in crisis. If you know of an organization, please reach out at Support@Femdacity.com and let us know.
Together we can create a more period equitable society for all girls and Women