Period Poverty

period poverty

Scotland has become the first country in the world to offer tampons and pads for free, for anyone, more accurately for anyone who needs them. Seen on a global scale it’s bigger news than it may at first appear.  That is because of what GZERO Media calls period poverty, the lack of being able to afford feminine hygiene products like tampons, pads or even soap. It’s a problem in any number of countries,  where so often girls are not able to go to school when they  are having their periods, and sometimes buying food takes precedence over buying feminine hygiene products. That means that women and girls have to find unhygienic substitutes. In India for example,  poor women and girls use dirty rags, leaves, newspaper, sand and even ashes, anything to absorb the menstrual blood. The lack of sanitation often causes infections and 70% of reproductive diseases in India stem from poor menstrual hygiene. The problem of cost is compounded by people in governments, usually men, who hold on to taboos about women’s periods. In several societies menstruating women are considered unclean, making it difficult for them to even dry their rags openly in the sun, which would be a disinfectant. Even in the US, the UK and Australia,  laws haven’t been able to pass partly because feminine hygiene products are considered non-essentials. Of course that is not only erroneous, it overlooks the fact these products are not cheap.  All of this highlight Scotland as indeed a pioneer. New Zealand  and Kenya offer free products but only in public schools. So hail Scotland for making these products free on a national scale. May they be an example to many others.

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