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Addressing Period Poverty

  • Stephanie Bryson, Senior Director, Policy and Public Affairs
    By: Stephanie Bryson, Senior Director, Policy and Public Affairs
    Updated:

Did you know that 1 in 4 women struggled to purchase period products in the past year due to lack of income? In fact, nearly 1 in 5 American girls have missed school because of a lack of menstrual products.

May 24-29 is Period Poverty Awareness Week and the Pill Club is raising awareness and working with partners to address this issue. Period poverty is a term used to describe the phenomena of not being able to afford period supplies as well as other inequities that are related to menstruation, like stigma, shame, and ostrasization.

Over the past two years, period poverty has worsened in the US: new research has shown that period poverty has increased 35% since 2018, and that this problem disproportionately impacts Black and Latina people. Over one-third of low income women reported missing work, school, or a similar event because of a lack of access to needed period supplies.

Tampons, pads, and liners are still considered “luxury goods” in most states even though cost is the primary reason that most women struggle to access period supplies. This means that sales tax is applied to menstrual hygiene products while other goods like groceries and prescriptions are classified as basic necessities and not taxed. Even where period supplies are not taxed, low income women face barriers to access because most of the time these products cannot be purchased using food stamps, WIC, or SNAP benefits.

Advocates and some elected officials are working to address these challenges by raising awareness, reducing stigma and shame, advocating for changes to public policy, and supporting efforts that help people in need.

The Pill Club believes that access to period supplies shouldn’t be a barrier to women and girls. To mark our launch in Delaware last month and to contribute to Period Poverty Awareness Week, the Pill Club is proud to sponsor Stand Up. Period., an initiative of the Junior League of Wilmington. This sponsorship supports their vital work collecting and distributing needed supplies to Delawareans and raising awareness to help #endperiodpoverty.

If you are interested in getting involved, please check out the Stand Up. Period. website and The Alliance for Period Supplies.


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