What are the impacts of period poverty in Australia?
Period poverty is not just an issue in distant countries, it affects Australians too. 3.2 million Aussies live below the poverty line and more than half of those are people who identify as women and girls.
Aussies affected by period poverty don’t have access to the right products, services or education to manage their periods safely and with dignity. This issue is intensified for those living in remote and indigenous communities, where it can be difficult to access products and cultural taboos prevent women from simple things like buying products if a male companion is around.
Lack of access to period products and the shame attached to periods has led to girls missing school during their periods - disrupting their education and putting them at a disadvantage among their peers.
What about across the globe?
Period poverty is a global health issue which reinforces gender inequality, increases hardship and causes people to miss out on education, work and social activities.
Globally, 2.3 billion people lack basic sanitation services, which is essential to managing your period. At least 500 million women and girls lack a private place to change their period products during menstruation. This is equivalent to every female living in developed countries. Plan International UK reports that 10% of girls in the UK can’t afford menstrual products, with 12% improvising by ‘taping toilet paper’ or ‘wrapping socks’ around their underwear due to affordability issues. The list of shocking stats goes on and that’s why urgent action is needed to end period poverty.
If people are burdened by their inability to manage their menstrual cycle, they can’t invest in the aspects of their lives which will help them become empowered and move out of the cycles of both poverty and gender-based discrimination.
Why do you think it's such a hush hush issue?
Periods are natural, normal and a part of daily life, and yet for some, they’re a source of stress, shame or stigma. We need to normalise conversation on periods through education and as a brand, we have a responsibility to lead this discussion. Periods shouldn’t be a source of shame, a health and safety issue or prevent people who menstruate from reaching their full potential.
How can we end the stigma?
It’s important for us to break the stigma that periods are ‘gross’ or shameful. Over half the population has had them at some stage of their life, and it is high time we banish the shame that is associated with something that happens regularly and is natural.
Modibodi’s vision is to break the stigma around women’s health topics and lead discussions online with influencers, publications and the general public, allowing everyone to openly discuss the normality of women’s health.
What are the steps we can all take to end period poverty?
The number of people impacted by period poverty is shocking. In support of Menstrual Health Day 2021 we created the ‘End Period Poverty’ activation to draw attention to the fact that everybody should have the right to manage their period safely. The installation is a bold and shocking representation of the struggle people experiencing period poverty face, month after month, when they don’t have access to products that can help them safely manage their period with dignity.
Everyone needs to be educated on this issue so we can put an end to period poverty and period stigma. This year, we’ll be donating $2 million worth of underwear to people in period poverty across the globe, but more help is needed and we’re asking Aussies to get behind our pledge too by donating to our Give a Pair program. One pair of Modibodi underwear will last several years, or more, a lot longer than a box of single-use disposable tampons or pads. Not only will this make a more sustainable difference in a person’s life, but it provides an eco-friendlier solution.
Help end period poverty and ‘Give a Pair’ by visiting the ‘End Period Poverty’ activation or online via modibodi.com.