I think that period poverty is something that as a society we do not talk about enough. Part of the reason behind that is because there is such a stigma around periods in general, people feel like they can’t talk about them, and treat them as some kind of taboo thing that just cannot be discussed. Another reason is that people don’t realize how big of a problem period poverty really is. Sanitary products are quite expensive and many people can’t afford them even though they are a necessity. Women are pretty much half of the world’s population, and almost all women at some point in their life have their period. It is not something that you can really avoid, so why is it so hard for a lot of women and girls to get access to sanitary products? A part of that reason is because of the “Pink tax” or “Tampon tax.” This is a tax that is put on sanitary products because they are labeled as non-essential items. 35 states in the U.S. still use this tax which is ridiculous because sanitary products are absolutely an essential item, most women and girls cannot choose whether or not to have their period.
image depicting a calendar marked with dates of menstrual cycle, sanitary products, and not enough money to pay for them
The Pink tax does not just apply to sanitary products however, many other personal care items such as razors, clothing, and accessories are affected by the pink tax. This means that if an item is “made for women” or marketed in that way, it will cost more even if it is the exact same as the “mens version.” This happens with deodorant, shampoo and conditioner, lotion, body wash, shaving cream, and so much more. This article reveals that more often than not, the only real difference between mens and womens products is that the women’s will be pink, and cost more.
A men’s and women’s razor, exactly the same but the women’s costs more
Another thing that is a factor in Period poverty is the wage gap and opportunity gap which are basically the same thing. Women typically make only $00.79 for every dollar a man makes, that is the wage gap. The opportunity gap is that women are less likely to be able to get high position jobs, which means that they probably will have a harder time being paid more. So, if women have a harder time getting paid as much as men and getting jobs that will pay that much, and women’s products cost more, how are they supposed to pay for essential things like sanitary products? Of course this is a very broad statement, some women are paid a lot more or as much as some men but knowing this information is important when talking about period poverty. There are also other factors that come into play when it comes to period poverty, Women of color typically have an even harder time getting paid as much as men and also even white women so period poverty is much more common in some communities than others because of this. The coronavirus pandemic has also made period poverty even worse for some communities than it was before, with people getting laid off their jobs and all the other hardships that have come about because of the pandemic. I connect to this issue because I personally have the ability to be able to afford sanitary products but the fact that so many people do not just feels wrong to me. Something that is so natural and basically unavoidable as well should not be such a huge burden for so many women. While researching this issue I have found that it is very complicated and will not be solved easily, or by one person. There are so many factors that affect period poverty and make it very intricate and difficult. I think that the first step is to get people educated on the topic and make it normal to talk about periods because it is still something that for some reason a lot of people think is bad to talk about but that needs to change.
image of a hand holding a tampon with the words “not a luxury” in the background
Link to my annotated bibliography