COMBATING PERIOD POVERTY
Period poverty has consequences both for the individual and for society as a whole, and must be combated. Period poverty means that you don’t have access to safe and hygienic menstrual products and / or can’t manage your period in a hygienic way due to poverty.
It’s a complex problem that requires solutions from several angles. To end menstrual poverty, the following is needed:
Access to menstrual protection: You should be able to afford the menstrual protection of choice and have easy access to it.
Sufficient knowledge: You need knowledge about your body and how to handle different menstrual protections in a hygienic way in order to stay healthy, feel secure and take good decisions about bodily issues.
Supportive social norms: Everyone should be able to ask questions about menstruation without being met by prejudice or being silenced. Those who seek care for menstrual health issues should receive support and correct treatment – not disbelief, and you should be able to ask about menstrual products without feeling ashamed. Society as a whole simply needs to have a knowledge-based and open view of menstruation!
“Menstrual infrastructure”: Every menstruator needs a safe place to change menstrual protection, clean water and soap to be able to wash hands and clean reusable menstrual pads. In addition, trash cans are needed to dispose of used protection.
Watch our film clip “Everything you need to know about period poverty!”. Available with English subtitles.
Periods don’t stop for pandemics. People who menstruate are still in need of period products but not everyone can afford them. Period poverty is nothing new, but in times of crisis more people get affected. The # enmensentjänst (translates to #oneperiodonefavour) campaign was launched in mid-May 2020 and offered free menstrual protection to anyone who was in need of it.
Donated to Utanskyddsnät
Utanskydtsnät (translates to Withoutsafeteynet) is a politically independent organisation. They work to ensure that women and transgender people living under extremely exsposed conditions – for example in homelessness, suffering from substance abuse and prostitution – gets the support and helt they need.
During the pandemic it has become more apparent how exposed this group is – with poor possibilities to follow the general recommendations. If you don’t have a place to stay, how are you gonna wash your hands or stay in quarantine? Utanskyddsnät has collected resources and packed 500 “care bags” that are distributed to vulnerable people in order to make their lives easier. MENSEN contributed 1000 packs of menstrual pads – no one should have to live in period poverty!
In january 2018, MENSEN launched the campaign #mensautanmoms (translates #novatflow). The tax on menstrual products has been up to debate in many countries and in several cases it has been lowered or even removed. In Sweden the debate is far behind and the tax is still 25 % – despite the fact that the European Union allows for the member states to set their own rate on menstrual products. With the campaign, we want to bring attention to the fact that menstrual products is not something you buy out of choice – it’s a necessity. Everyone should have access to it, irrespective of income level.
What happened after the campaign?