In 2017, census data showed that 13.6% of women in the U.S. were below the poverty line. Families headed by single mothers were five times as much more likely to be in poverty than married couples.
With food and shelter being main priorities, menstrual hygiene can be disregarded, causing people to use less products a day than they actually need. This can lead to infections which may need costly medical attention.
For the homeless, the problem of menstrual hygiene is exacerbated, since most don’t have access to basic things like showers or toilets. Many will resort to using socks, rags, or newspaper instead, also causing potential vaginal health or urinary tract problems.
For those in jail, the same problem exists. With the prison system pretty much designed for men (13% of incarcerated people are women), there is little consideration for adequate provision of sanitary products.
Sanitary products such as pads and tampons are essentially luxuries, costing upwards of $7 a month per person. Government assistance programs don’t cover products that are necessary to people who menstruate!
This could all change with legislation. There are several new proposed measures that could radically advance us towards menstrual equity!
Learn more about the FIRST STEP Act, the Menstrual Equity Act For All, the Robin Danielson Feminine Hygiene Product Safety Act, the TAMP (Total Access to Menstrual Products) Act, Bill A10763, and how you can contribute to making periods better and safer for everyone.