Period poverty has gained a lot of attention over the past few years, and rightfully so. As many as 800 million people menstruate at any one point. Every single one of these people experience their period differently. But one thing unites them all. They all deserve to feel safe and secure when on their period. Access to period products is a vital part of this.
So what is period poverty?
Putting it simply, itmeans a lack of access to period products. A recent research survey by Plan Internationalestimated that 1 in 10 girls in the UK are unable to afford period products. 1 in 7 have had to ask to borrow a product from a friend due to affordability. 1 in 5 have changed to a less suitable product due to cost. Access to period products is so important so people can remain in school or at work, live their lives with dignity, confidence and ensure they are not disadvantaged or endangered.
It is important to recognise, that like many inequalities, period poverty is complex and unique to the individual. There is not just one experience of period poverty. Furthermore, it is tied to other socio-economic factors and this is important to understand. Safe and effective spaces to change products, access to underwear, access to education surrounding periods, period stigma and gender inequality are just some of the factors which are linked to period poverty.
Period poverty and stigma
As many of us know, periods are highly stigmatised. Period stigma remains a huge issue within the UK. Nearly half of those aged 14 to 21 are embarrassed by their periods. Almost three quarters of girls admitted to feeling embarrassed when purchasing products and only 1in 5 felt comfortable discussing their period with their teacher.
What is the impact?
Period poverty has unique, complex and variable impacts on different individuals. The same survey by Plan International noted that 49% of girls have missed an entire day of school because of their period. Period poverty is a challenge facing many people with periods around the world. Having a period each month is hard enough and it is extremely unfair that in the 21stcentury certain groups are disadvantaged.
Lilypads believes that no one should be limited by their period. Our pads are more affordable than others as we think sustainable period products should not be a luxury. Read more about what Lilypads are doing internationally to provide access to products on our website.