A safe and dignified menstrual cycle is a fundamental need for all women and yet every month millions are forced to give up their daily routines such as work and school because they cannot get access to hygienic sanitary products.
The term ‘period poverty’ doesn’t just refer to a lack of access to sanitary products but includes limited access. In some cases, girls and women may get pads/tampons which are expected to last for weeks/months. This leads to prolonged use of the same tampons or pads, which can compromise hygiene and cause infection. In the absence of access to hygienic sanitary products, women are forced to use unhygienic materials, such as rags and newspaper which also increase risk of infection and compromised reproductive health.
Millions of women and girls are affected
Globally, approximately 130 million girls are out of school, according to UNESCO.1 While there are many reasons for this, periods and a lack of sanitation, hygiene and menstrual health are some of the key factors that girls from resource-poor environments attribute frequent school absences to.2
In the Netherlands, around 10 percent of girls and young women are sometimes unable to afford period products. In New Zealand, studies have found that about 95 000 nine- to- eighteen- year-old girls may stay home during their periods because of not being able to afford period products.3
Girls and women in developing and least developed countries are disproportionately affected by period poverty. Adolescent girls are not told about and prepared for menstruation before experiencing their first period and sanitary products are all too often unaffordable.4 One in 10 girls in Africa miss school because they don’t have access to sanitary products, or because there aren’t safe, private toilets to use at school.5 In India, approximately 12 percent of its 355 million menstruating women cannot afford period products.6
The One Billion Menstrual Thrive Kit
The One Billion Menstrual Thrive Kit aims to provide a kit of essential feminine hygiene products to women and girls in need. The kit will ideally include reusable and sustainable hygiene products as well soap/wipes, so that women are able to take care of their bodily needs every month over a long period, while ensuring that their health and wellbeing is not compromised.