Period Poverty is Real
Ladies. Let’s be real for a hot second. We’ve all felt the embarrassment and shame of a young, middle school you sprinting to the bathroom because you’ve only had your period for a few months and you forgot to bring tampons to school. Now you’ve bled through your pink and blue plaid Bermuda shorts and your middle school crush Brad saw and your life is over!!! After fast walking at olympic speed to the bathroom, you realize that you are truly screwed because there are no tampons or feminine products anywhere!! And your middle school friends don’t have any spare tampons or pads with them because they too are new to ~womanhood~.
Luckily, as we age, we’re a little more prepared for “that time of the month,” but it never gets any less annoying when you’re in a rush to get to your 8am and really need a tampon. You don’t have time to hike all the way down to CVS, and the school doesn’t have anything to help you out. This is a pretty common occurrence for women in school and the workplace in the United States, but it doesn’t have to be.
Ever heard of Scotland? The country where the men wear skirts and play bagpipes because WE LOVE a country that has cultural gender fluid clothing? Well, here’s another reason why Scotland is amazing: they pour over $6.4 million into their school budgets, specifically for schools to provide free sanitary products to students, like tampons. The Scottish government is the first in the world to provide this kind of service to their students as a way to “banish the scourge of period poverty.” Period poverty isn’t really something that we talk about in society because periods have a cultural stigma of being “icky” and “gross.”
But don’t be fooled, it’s very real. Grassroots group Women for Independence researched how many women and girls are affected by period poverty, and the result was one in five women struggled to pay for basic sanitary products every month. While our country seems to care more about spending billions of dollars on an unnecessary wall than helping 20 percent of women who can’t afford essential sanitary products, there are a lot of organizations that are trying to help students gain access to free sanitary products. Cuse’s own Students Advocating Sexual Safety & Empowerment is one of them.
After grabbing attention with a petition, SASSE is currently working with SU and the Student Administration to install vending machines with free and organic sanitary products for students, as well as a cheaper and more accessible Plan B for students. Nicole Aramboles, Health and Wellness Coordinator at SASSE, says that thanks to the support of the administration and the students, they hope to install the vending machines by next semester, although nothing is finalized. Women spend approximately one fifth of their life menstruating, and that money really starts to add up. Sometimes all you really want is some mac and cheese from Good Uncle, but you just spent your last six to ten dollars on tampons and that’s just not right!!!
According to the Huffington Post, a woman spends on average $1,773.33 on tampons in her lifetime. When you add that number to the cost of pain relievers, panty liners, birth control and more, the total cost results to about $18,171. But not everyone can afford such an expense.
Period poverty is very real, and the sooner we end the cultural stigma of periods, the sooner real change can be made.
To support SASSE, sign their petition for more accessible menstrual products and Plan B.