At Aunt Flow, we talk a LOT about the term “period poverty.” You may have seen this term in the news, on our website, or even while scrolling on social media. But what exactly does this term mean?
What is Period Poverty?
Period poverty refers to the lack of access to period products and menstrual education. People who experience period poverty can’t afford to buy the period products they need on a monthly basis, which results in them being unable to go to work, attend class or participate in their day-to-day routine.
Who is Affected by Period Poverty?
Period products like pads and tampons are a basic and constant necessity – equivalent to toilet paper. Yet, it is treated as a luxury that is often stigmatized and ignored instead of a fundamental human right. It is estimated that over 1.8 billion people menstruate monthly, but out of this number, only 500 million have access to period products.
Here are the facts:
- According to UNICEF, the cost of period supplies like tampons averages $13 a month ($6,300 across a lifetime)
- In 2021, Forbes reported that one in ten college students couldn’t afford pads or tampons.
- Transgender individuals are two times as likely to live in poverty as the general population, according to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). If one is an undocumented immigrant, a person of color or a person living with a disability, that statistic worsens.
- 23% of K-12 menstruating students aged 13-19 have struggled to afford period products, per the 2021 State of the Period report.
- The ACLU also reports that lawmakers in about 20 states have introduced legislation as of 2021 to tackle the tampon tax. However, ACLU’s Period Equity notes that 27 states possess period-related taxes in the books, generating $120 million annually.
Does Period Poverty Occur in the United States?
YEP! According to Reuters Health, nearly two-thirds of menstruators in the United States could not afford period products. At the same time, nearly half had to choose between food and tampons. And while government aid offers forms of financial relief to those who need it, neither food stamps or WIC, unfortunately, cover the cost of period products.
How Can I Help End Period Poverty?
There are a number of ways YOU can combat period poverty:
- Shop Aunt Flow! For every 10 tampons or pads sold, we donate one to an organization that supplies products to menstruators who need them. Read more about our donation program HERE!
- Use one of our email templates to email your workplace or school encouraging them to offer free period supplies.
- Check out our blog to see states that are passing legislation to help combat period poverty!