Low Income Individuals
For people who experience it, menstruation happens on average about once a month. Women, transgender individuals, and nonbinary individuals are in need of monthly resources for their periods. This isn’t brand new information, so why are period products deemed non-essential by our government? Menstrual products are taxed as non-essential items while men’s hygiene products are not taxed in this manner. This additional tax has been unofficially deemed the “Tampon Tax” or the “Pink Tax'' by those of us who see the unfairness in this situation. For those of us not sure what constitutes as a period hygiene product, here is a list of items slapped with the “Pink Tax'' in many states:
- Sanitary Napkins (pads)
- Panty Liners
- Feminine Wipes
- Feminine Soaps
To make the situation more frustrating, government programs such as food stamps do not cover or allow the purchase of period hygiene products. This fact combined with the additional Pink Tax make menstrual products very hard to purchase for individuals in low income households. The worldwide COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in period product prices rising, which makes it all the more difficult for low income individuals to purchase the essentials. We can advocate for period products to be deemed essential by educating our political officials and pushing for them to be fairly taxed and represented as purchasable products with food stamps!
School-Aged Children and Teens
Last year, when the pandemic hit the United States, millions of children and teens were asked to continue their education from home for an extended amount of time. On the surface, this was a well-informed decision for the safety of children, teachers, and parents. However, most school districts did not acknowledge or think about all of the children and teens who regularly rely on school nurses to provide them with the main menstruation hygiene necessities. Therefore, many children and teens from low income households are currently suffering from the lack of period hygiene products such as pads, tampons, and wipes.
As a child or teenager, getting your period for the first time is already stressful enough! At such a formable age, this can be traumatizing for children and teens who feel society’s pressure to hide their period but are not given the necessities to take care of themselves. Making menstruation necessities more cost-effective, or even free and accessible to the masses, is something we can press our government leaders to consider.
As mentioned, the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in the rise of prices on many necessities including the already-expensive and heavily-taxed period products. The unattainability of menstruation products is not limited to just the homeless, low income individuals, or even children and teens. Women, transgender individuals, and non-binary individuals who are imprisoned also suffer from the lack of resources needed to effectively take care of themselves during their “time of the month.”
Individuals who are incarcerated are at the mercy of guards who have the authority to provide them with period products (usually pads). More often than not, these guards are male and do not understand or respect the need for these essential products. In many cases, women are limited to 2-3 pads a day and, for heavy periods, that doesn’t cut it! There are even reports of women resorting to making their own tampons, which is a dangerous health concern. Educating people of authority, including male guards, and normalizing periods is essential to ending the Period Poverty.
Transgender and Nonbinary Individuals:
The worldwide pandemic of COVID-19 has made hospitals and doctor’s offices packed and busy with patients, which makes it difficult for anyone to get an appointment for gynecological reasons. This unfortunate fact contributes as a non-financial aspect of Period Poverty. It causes a lack of access to necessary healthcare and mental healthcare. Transgender and Nonbinary individuals who do not receive proper healthcare and mental healthcare can also suffer from body dysmorphia due to their monthly menstruation.
The lack of healthcare, mental healthcare and, in some cases, hormone treatments are all contributing factors to those who may suffer from body dysmorphia. In addition, transgender and nonbinary individuals may find it difficult to dispose of period products in restrooms designed for males or people who do not menstruate. Although these factors are not monetarily related, the fact that they contribute to the lack of necessary healthcare and accessible amenities in restrooms for transgender and non-binary individuals makes them relevant to Period Poverty.
How Can We Help?
Period Poverty is not a new phenomenon to our society. What is a new phenomenon, however, are the many public advocates for women’s health coming forward and bringing period poverty to the forefront of public attention. They are highlighting the inadequacy of our past approaches to policy, research, and education. At Oluna, we are dedicated to restoring pride around women, transgender, and non-binary menstrual health! We have always been advocates for gender equality, and we are fueled by the fact that COVID-19 has provided a huge setback in the mission to end Period Poverty.
With the purchase of one pair of Oluna pants, a low income American will be provided with an entire year’s worth of essential menstruation products! In addition, we ensure each of these individuals are equipped with knowledge about their own period health and the ability to properly use the products they are supplied with. Not only do we want to provide the necessities for our low income Americans to feel comfortable during their menstrual cycle, but we also want them to go forth feeling confident about their period.
We are proud to run a business that supplies fashionable items to our customers while also having the ability to provide low income Americans with period hygiene essentials. Throughout our journey we will continue to update you on how you may help us with our mission to end the negative effects of Period Poverty! You can join us in our mission by checking out our Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest boards. In addition, you can signup at Oluna.co for our regular newsletters and reminders about our new product releases. Thank you for being a part of our Oluna family and for joining us in our mission to end Period Poverty!