© 2019 Wamaitha Ng'ang'a

PERIOD POVERTY

Period poverty is a global issue affecting women and girls in both developing and developed nations, especially the women and girls living in poverty, experiencing conflict and natural disaster affected areas, as well as those with special needs disabilities. 

Access to sanitary products, safe, hygienic spaces and the right to manage periods without cultural shame or stigma, is essential for anyone who menstruates. But for many, this is not a reality as in some cases, women and girls have inadequate access to these resources, leading to prolonged use of the same tampons or pads, which can cause infection. Poor menstrual hygiene has been linked to reproductive and urinary tract infections. This is a potential health risk, especially to women and girls who have undergone female genital cutting (FGC).

Girls often miss days of school during their periods - some may drop out of school, altogether. The loss of education can mean girls are more likely to be trapped in poverty, forced into child marriage, early pregnancy and domestic violence affecting their well being and entire lives.

Accompanying physical complications, period poverty can potentially result in anxiety and depression. One of the main issues surrounding period poverty is the cost of sanitary products. In most parts of the world, sanitary products are considered luxury goods - items not considered a necessity - and are taxed accordingly. This makes tampons and pads even more inaccessible.