Access to menstrual products is a basic need for girls, yet it is still a problem in many parts of the world. And also a big problem in the United States.
The recent rejection of a bill that would have provided free menstrual products in public school girls' bathrooms in Idaho highlights this ongoing issue. Many girls do not have access to buy their own menstrual pads and tampons, which is a basic need they cannot afford to ignore. Girls cannot stop their periods; they come each month, regardless of their financial situation.
So what are the actual facts about the problem itself?
- 42% of women in the United States have experienced struggles to afford menstrual products.
- Black and Hispanic women are more likely to struggle with period poverty than White women.
- Taxes on menstrual products increase the prices and make them unaffordable for menstruators.
- Some US states heavily tax period products, including Mississippi, Tennessee, and Indiana at 7% and Arkansas, Texas, Kansas, Idaho, Kentucky, West Virginia, and South Carolina at 6-6.5%.
- 16.9 million menstruators live in poverty in the US, and two-thirds of them have struggled to afford menstrual products in the last year.
- 14% of college girls in a study also struggled to afford period products.
- Period poverty is a global issue, with 50% of women in the UK struggling to afford period products in the last year.
Please read the full study here.
Girls are missing school because they simply can`t afford menstrual products.
The rejection of the bill in Idaho is particularly disheartening because it would have helped sixth through 12th-grade students, providing them with no-cost menstrual product dispensers in public school girls' bathrooms. The estimated cost of this program was only $3.50 per student, yet it was considered too expensive by some legislators. This kind of thinking is short-sighted and fails to recognize the importance of menstrual products for girls.
The problem of access to menstrual products is not unique to Idaho.
In fact, one in four students who menstruate had trouble accessing period supplies in 2021, according to a survey from the nonprofit Alliance for Period Supplies. The same survey found 4 in 5 students either missed class due to a lack of access to menstrual products or knew someone who did. This is unacceptable, and it is time for lawmakers and policymakers to take this issue seriously.
15 and Washington, D.C., have passed legislation mandating that free menstrual products be provided to students.
According to the Alliance for Period Supplies, five more have set up grant systems for schools to provide the products. While this is a positive step, much work remains to be done.
The issue of access to menstrual products is not just a matter of convenience. It is a matter of basic human dignity.
Girls should not have to choose between going to school and managing their periods. Girls should not have to feel ashamed or embarrassed because they do not have access to the products they need. Providing free menstrual products in schools is a simple and effective way to address this problem and ensure that girls can focus on their education.
The rejection of the bill in Idaho is a reminder that the problem of access to menstrual products is still a significant issue. Girls should not have to struggle to manage their periods, and policymakers must do more to address this problem. Providing free menstrual products in schools is a simple and effective solution that will help ensure that all girls have access to the products they need to manage their periods with dignity and confidence.
What are your thoughts on this? Do you see it as a problem
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