Period Poverty

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  • October 31, 2019

The Premedical Division is proud to announce our new advocacy resource: a pamphlet on Period Poverty!

Period poverty refers to the inadequate access to menstrual hygiene tools and educations, including but not limited to sanitary products, washing facilities, and waste management. Through education and advocacy we can greatly improve access to hygiene facilities and products, reduce stigma and shame, and encourage education about menstruation. 

Periods are often associated with shame and stigma, as well as poor menstruation education. Around the world, children miss school while menstruating due to lack of access in addition to cultural or social stigma that they may face. In other countries, 2 out of 3 girls may avoid school because they have not been educated about their period.  

In the United States women struggle to achieve adequate menstrual hygiene due to lack of access and lack of income. Two prominent groups that face period poverty are students and homeless women and girls. The “Pink Tax”, or “Tampon Tax”, also contributes to period poverty as well. 35 U.S. states tax period products as non-essential items, whereas, men’s grooming products and erectile dysfunction medication are not taxed. Additionally, food stamps do not cover menstrual products for women living below the poverty line. Schools and federal prisons have recently begun improving the accessibility within their facilities, but that is just a start.

October 19th was the first National Period Day, where people around the country came together to raise awareness about period poverty. The movement was organized by PERIOD, an non-profit youth organization dedicated to eliminating period poverty and stigma through service, advocacy, and education. Initiatives such as these help to promote this issue, raise awareness, and show policy makers 

There are a number of other organizations and companies that promote including UNICEF, Always, Lunette, Alliance for Period Supplies, Saalt, and many, many more. You can get involved in local, national and international initiatives through organizations and companies such as these, or conducting your own form of outreach. This can include calling policymakers, or promoting education and awareness through distributing pamphlets and fliers in-person or on social media.  

You can find this resource on at AMWA’s Premedical Division website. Keep an eye out for more advocacy materials to come!

Link to Download Pamphlet: Period Poverty Pamphlet

Alexandra Alvarez

105th AMWA Annual Meeting — March 26 – 29, 2020, Indianapolis, IN Learn More!