Period Poverty and Menstrual Education

Thank you to Great Day Washington for highlighting this important issue.

March is Women’s History Month and there is much to celebrate. Throughout history, women have been some of the most influential change-makers. While women have made an immense impact on society, there is still work to be done, and there are countless trailblazing women continuing to strive towards equality, change, and ingenuity. One cause for concern that still plagues women worldwide and in our local communities is Period Poverty. According to a recent study published in January 2021, “The World Bank estimates that 500 million women and girls globally lack access to adequate facilities for menstrual hygiene management. They also lack access to menstrual products.”

Period Poverty is an issue that is often overlooked. Period poverty can be described as lacking access to menstrual products, puberty, and menstrual education, access to hygienic facilities, and proper waste management and disposal. 

Jillian Amodio, mental health advocate, and founder of Moms for Mental Health says that small actions can have a big impact on access to menstrual education and access to menstrual products. She says that no menstruating individual should lack access to the products they need to ensure a safe, sanitary, and comfortable period. During menstruation, many youths miss school because of a lack of access to menstrual hygiene products. Jillian and her group Moms for Mental Health are celebrating Women’s History Month by bringing awareness to period poverty through a Menstrual Hygiene Drive and they are encouraging others to do the same. Jillian says that education is just as important as access to products!

She has the following tips for tackling period poverty one step at a time. 

  1. Education is empowerment. Teach youth anatomically correct terms for their body and prepare them ahead of time for changes that will occur during various stages of life. 
  2. For young girls and those born biologically female, on their way to puberty, help them pack a period go bag that includes the items they might need to handle menstruation including pads, tampons, cleansing wipes, hand sanitizer, a mirror, and a change of clothes. If you are able to, pack enough to share with a friend in need. 
  3. Host a menstrual hygiene drive for your local schools, churches, community centers, libraries, doctors’ offices, or homeless shelters.
  4. In addition to canned goods and non-perishable items encourage your local food pantries to keep a section for menstrual hygiene products to be donated as well. 

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