Updated: Apr 8
Did you know October 19th marks National Period Day? A movement to raise awareness and educate others about period poverty and the massive impact it has on women all over the world.
What is period Poverty?
Period poverty refers to inadequate access to sanitary products, as well as appropriate toilets, handwashing facilities and waste management. Women all over the world experience period poverty and struggle to afford menstrual hygiene products which can lead to cultural shame, ostracization and effect their day to day lives.
Why is it important?
Over 800 million people menstruate daily, and the importance of combatting period poverty is ever growing with our population. 2.3 billion people globally live without basic sanitation which is the major cause of disease and health disorders, and a fundamental part of human development.
What does this mean for women and girls?
Cloths, rags, toilet paper and tissues are often used by women that don’t have access to or can’t afford sanitary products on a monthly basis, which can have a direct negative impact on women’s health as well as their ability to live their lives normally. Toxic shock syndrome, inflammation and rashes are amongst the physical health risks and BMC Women’s Health found that “among women who reported experiencing period poverty every month, 68.1% reported symptoms consistent with moderate or severe depression.”
Without safe and adequate access to sanitary facilities or products, women and young girls struggle to manage their periods every day. In some countries, menstruation is stigmatized and women are seen as impure by their community whilst going through their natural cycle. A recent Australian study found that more than one third of young women missed at least one class either at school or university, in the previous 3 months due to menstrual symptoms. Girls often skip school to avoid embarrassment and teasing from their classmates when menstruating.
“The impact of period poverty, particularly in young women is far reaching. If a girl misses a week of school each month due to the stigma and physical necessity of not having access to suitable sanitary products, her education is compromised, thus impacting her future."
Adrian Forsyth, Naturalena Foundation’s Managing Director believes that “The impact of period poverty, particularly in young women is far reaching. If a girl misses a week of school each month due to the stigma and physical necessity of not having access to suitable sanitary products, her education is compromised, thus impacting her future.
As period poverty is a solvable issue, having access to period products should not be seen as life changing, it should be a standard right for all women.”
The Naturalena Foundation believes in a world where everyone has access to menstrual products and resources to uphold their health and dignity that we deserve. Our foundation has generously donated globally over 4 MILLION feminine hygiene products and counting through our IRS registered charity. We aim to aid women and children both in our local communities and globally where needed. Period poverty is a serious global issue that can be supported by donations, education and awareness. Our Mission is to create a world where young girls and women are not disadvantaged by the natural process of menstruation; and can access and enjoy all opportunities available in an unhindered healthy way; to deliver greater equality, opportunity and wellbeing for not only young girls and women, but society as whole.
BMC Women’s Health (2021) Period poverty and mental health implications among college-aged women in the United States (accessed on Oct 12, 2021)
Journal of Women’s Health (2019) The Prevalence and Academic Impact of Dysmenorrhea in 21,573 Young Women: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis (accessed on Oct 12, 2021)
Rodriguez, L., Sánchez, E. (2019). Period Poverty: Everything You Need to Know.
Duffy S., O’Shea, M. Esch, P. (2021). Imagine Having your Period and no Money for pads or Tampons. Would you still go to School?