Story at a glance

  • Period poverty refers to the inequity that results from the high cost of sanitary products for those who menstruate.
  • Scottish lawmakers are making period products free for anyone in need.
  • In the United States, the pandemic has only worsened existing inequities.

If you have a vagina, you know how expensive it can be. 

On top of the discomfort and pain of menstruation, you have to spend a not-insignificant amount of money on feminine hygiene products every month, along with the “pink tax” associated with items marketed to women. 

In Scotland, however, lawmakers passed legislation making period products available for free to anyone who needs them.  


READ MORE LIKE THIS FROM CHANGING AMERICA

WOMEN OF COLOR ARE TIPPING THE BALANCE OF POWER IN U.S. CITIES

ALL-GIRL TEEN CODING TEAM DEVELOPS APP THAT RATES RESTAURANTS ON COVID-19 SAFETY

MOST GIRLS AND YOUNG WOMEN HAVE EXPERIENCE ABUSE ONLINE, NEW REPORT FINDS


"Periods don't stop for pandemics and the work to improve access to essential tampons, pads and reusables has never been more important," Labour MSP Monica Lennon, who introduced the law, told BBC

The legislation requires the Scottish Government and other public bodies to allow anyone who needs period products to get them for free, while schools, colleges and universities are required to keep a "range" of period products available for free in bathrooms. 


America is changing faster than ever! Add Changing America to your Facebook or Twitter feed to stay on top of the news.


Across the world, period poverty is a rampant problem that keeps both adults and children who are menstruating out of work and school, even in so-called “developed” countries. An average menstruating American will spend an estimated $1,773.33 over their lifetime on tampons alone, according to a Huffington Post analysis, and some just can’t afford that. 

Menstrual hygiene products aren’t covered by national food stamp programs and are subject to sales tax in at least 30 states (while some male sanitary products are not). A 2019 survey found that nearly two-thirds of low-income women in a large U.S. city couldn’t afford menstrual hygiene products such as tampons or pads in the previous year, forced to make do with less sanitary options. The global pandemic has only exacerbated the inequity. 

“This pandemic, again, is proving that pads and tampons are an essential product, and that they’re not luxury product,” Nina Sarhan, a leader at PERIOD, told Stat News.


READ MORE LIKE THIS FROM CHANGING AMERICA

EQUAL PAY DAY HIGHLIGHTS THE FINANCIAL STRAIN ON WOMEN DURING CORONAVIRUS 

NEW STUDY CONFIRMS THAT FEMALE-LED COUNTRIES FARED BETTER AGAINST CORONAVIRUS

CELEBRATE WOMEN’S EQUALITY DAY WITH THIS AWARD-WINNING FEMALE HISTORIAN

AFTER LOW ATTENDANCE, IS THE WOMEN’S MARCH STILL RELEVANT?


 

Published on Nov 25, 2020