At any given time, 800 million people around the world have their period, and an average woman spends 3,000 days of her life menstruating. Even though some people are not comfortable talking about menstruation, the cost of menstrual hygiene products, and other costs associated with managing menstruation, are unaffordable to many. Being unable to afford products such as tampons, pads or liners to manage menstrual bleeding reinforces gender inequalities. The lack of access to sanitary products is a major barrier for millions of women and girls worldwide to reach their social and economic potential.
Ensuring affordable menstrual health should be considered a major public health and human rights issue. It is a matter of dignity for many low-income menstruators. It negatively impacts access to public and private spaces, gender equality, and social justice. Too many women at some stage in their life will have sacrificed school, work, and socializing because they can’t afford to manage their periods safely and with dignity, and this is disproportionately affecting their life chances. Women also lose pay and education due to missing school and work due to period pain and other menstrual health problems.
These women are living in period poverty—a reality made worse by stigma.