A lack of period hygiene products, whether due to political pitfalls, distribution issues, or cost, can be detrimental to women and girls pursuing education, career, or other opportunities. When a woman or girl is forced to miss out on opportunities by not having access to period products, this is known as period poverty. The severity of period poverty is particularly high in developing countries.
Here are 5 ways you can become involved in ending period poverty for good—
Choose Ethical Period Products
The products you choose to purchase for maintenance of your period and for your family can directly impact the severity of period poverty globally.
Voting with your dollar has never been more important. Today, there are many companies providing period product solutions that have a positive impact on social changes needed to ensure access to period education and hygiene. Companies like &Sisters, Dame, and Saalt, donate a percent of their revenue to nonprofits working to give communities of women and girls free and reusable period essentials.
Petitions are used to gain the attention of local and national lawmakers. The more signatures for a cause, the more attention will be given from those in power capable of making legislation for change against period poverty.
With the power of social media, petitions are easier to share and sign than ever before. If you are passionate about ending period poverty, research active petitions being used to change laws on a local or national level. Your signature could change the future of the accessibility and cost of obtaining period products.
Whether you donate your time or money, donations are a fundamental support system to organizations and projects committed to ending period poverty. Donations made to vetted charities or projects are used to purchase and supply women and girls experiencing period poverty with period care items.
Donations can be in the form of a monetary donation or physical period products including tampons, pads, pantyliners, or reusable period underwear and cups. Your donation may be the reason a woman or girl in need doesn’t miss another day of work or school in pursuit of their dreams and education.
If you have the means to volunteer at crisis homes or women’s shelters, you can directly impact period poverty in your community. Consider bringing a friend along, too. Women and girls experiencing homelessness or financial crisis may not have the monetary means, nor emotional willpower, to prioritize their health during their menstrual cycle. Volunteering your time at a women’s shelter or local program by stocking hygiene products, food items, and clothing can ensure those experiencing period poverty receive the help they need. Plus, those in need benefit substantially by having you as a listening ear.
Attend Women’s Health Events
Whether a political march or an organized workshop, it's important to be involved in conversations that bring attention to women’s health. Bringing awareness to others in your circle and community about menstrual safety and period poverty is essential to bringing its end. Proper period hygiene protects women and girls from complications that can happen during menstruation, like urinary tract infections. An infection can be especially dangerous to those who do not have affordable access to medicines or medical care. In turn, improving access to period products supports healthier cohorts of women and girls.
When knowledge about women’s health is learned and shared with others, it sheds light on where, when, and how women’s health lacks support and accessibility, and what we can all do to help. Stay up to date on community events, marches, and workshops surrounding women’s health and reproductive health rights.