Updated: Jan 27, 2020
Period poverty effects millions of women and girls across the globe. In a nutshell, period poverty means being unable to access sanitary products or sanitary spaces, and having a poor knowledge of menstruation due to financial constraints. In the UK, 1 in 10 girls can't afford to buy menstrual products, while 1 in 7 have struggled to afford them.
Not having access to a safe and hygienic way to deal with menstruation can have a number of harmful consequences; particularly on a girl's education.Research by Plan International UK found 49% of girls have missed an entire day of school because of their period. 59% of these girls made up a lie or an alternative excuse to avoid going to school. Over the course of a year, 137,700 girls in the UK miss school due to period poverty.
Another major issue with period poverty is the taboo that surrounds menstruation, and this is particularly harmful to girls going through puberty. In a surgery of more than 1,000 girls, nearly half were embarrassed by their period, many were afraid to ask for help and 68% said they felt less able to pay attention in class at school whilst menstruating.
In South Asia, women are still banished out of their houses during their menstrual cycle, as it is seen as such a taboo and they are seen to be dirty. One of the biggest obstacles to menstrual health, in South Asia and third world countries in particular is a lack of sanitation practices and infrastructure. Most women in these countries rely on a dirty, reusable cloth. To sanitise them, they would need to wash them in clean water and dry them in the sunlight, however due to cultural taboos these women often feel pressured to to dry them in dark places potentially leading to infection. They also lack access to clean water.
A large part of the problem is simply education around the subject, and awareness of the issue. Because of this, I created these posters that display some facts about period poverty on a sanitary pad, to show people how rife the issue really is.
Another major issue is the taboo that surrounds female sanitation and menstruation which, as you read above, leads to a lot of girls not getting appropriate help. To try and de-stigmatise the subject I created these designs which I sell as postcards or prints to try and normalise female sanitary products, and get people talking.
There are a number of charities, projects and organisations doing amazing work around this issue, but one charity that I feel a particular connection to is 'Bloody Good Period'. They do incredible work supplying period supplies to asylum seekers, refugees and those who can't afford them. They also provide menstrual education to those who are less likely to access it. They are also simply trying to normalise the idea of menstruation and get people talking about it more.
To find about more about the amazing work they do at 'Bloody Good Period' and get involved, click the link below and visit their page.