- Saturday, October 8 is the Day of Action Period – a day dedicated to raising awareness of the period of chronic poverty around the world and taking action.
- A quarter of US people who need menstrual products have trouble buying them.
- Advocates are also pushing for legislative changes, such as eliminating the “tampon tax” that still exists in 22 states.
Period Action Day is Saturday. And awareness of period poverty around the world is important, advocates say, as the fight for menstrual equality continues.
In the US, one in four people who need menstrual products today have trouble affording them, according to nonprofit advocates. Alliance for Period Supplies. And more than 20 say they are still tax-time products, often as “non-essential” items or luxury items.
Activists and many non-profits are working to change that concern.
“Period products are a medical necessity. They are needed and everyone should have access to them, like basic food and shelter. It is a matter of human rights,” Damaris Pereda, director of international programs of the international non-profit Period. , he told USA TODAY.
Period Action Daythat Period. launched in 2019, it “serves as a global day of advocacy” to celebrate young people fighting for menstrual equality, to raise awareness that calls for action and to raise awareness about the causes of menstrual poverty that occur every day.
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This year’s Period Action Day is also in conjunction with the Women’s March, Pereda said, because the two share the same weekend. Period. is encouraging people to take part in marches near them, move period products and educate each other about menstrual equality this Saturday – but action and awareness should not be limited to one day, he said.
Here’s what supporters want you to know.
Period of great poverty
Period poverty, defined as not being able to access menstrual supplies and/or access to menstrual health education, has grown in recent years across the country.
A 2021 scholarship from U by Kotexfounder and supporter of the Alliance for Period Supplies, revealed that two out of five people have struggled to buy period products in their lifetime due to lack of money – a 35% increase from a 2018 survey of hygiene brands.
“Half the world is going to the moon. And there are millions of people in this country today who want to have these necessities (and) they just don’t have them because they don’t have the money,” Jennifer Gaines, program director for the program. Alliance for Period Supplies, told USA TODAY, pointing to the impact of CCIDID-19 on period poverty as well.
Twenty-seven percent of all respondents said the pandemic has made it more difficult to find menstrual products.
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The survey also highlighted poverty and social and economic disparities in the country – nearly a quarter of black (23%) and Latina (24%) respondents agreed that they had struggled to find affordable products in the past year. And more than a third of low-income women surveyed (38%) reported missing work, school or other activities due to lack of time resources, the study said.
Gaines added that young students living in poverty, Indigenous communities in tribal lands, rural residents, single mothers, people in prison and the homeless are among the most impoverished groups.
“There are a lot of different communities across the country that are affected by this,” Gaines said.
Period.’s 2021 State of the Period The report found a similar increase in period poverty in schools – a quarter of students are reporting that they struggle to find period products, up from a fifth of students in 2019.
The ‘tampon tax’ still exists in 22 states, even after a recent push to repeal it
Both Gaines and Pereda emphasize that policy advocacy and policy change are essential in the fight for menstrual equality. The first place is the “tampon tax.”
As of September 2022, 22 countries currently charge sales tax on seasonal products, according to the Alliance for Period Supplies. These menstrual needs are also often taxed as luxury goods – at the same rates as makeup, electronics and cosmetics, useless articles.
“If you’re someone who’s on their period, you know that having a pad or having a tampon or another menstrual product is not fun,” Gaines said.
Many regions around the world, though not all, which does not pay taxes on essentials such as groceries and medicine. But menstrual products are often not covered — which is especially surprising when some states have similar “tampon taxes” on prescription drugs like Viagra, Pereda said.
Figures for the total cost of products over time vary greatly. But US News estimates that a menstruating person spends about $9,000 on everyday products throughout his life. The National Association for Women he says that number is closer to $18,000. Proponents argue that the “tampon tax” has too much power.
“These are important things. There is no reason for them to be taxed incorrectly,” Ameer Abdul, period’s national campaign manager, told USA TODAY. “We talked to family members who talked to us about how, at the end of the month, they have to think about whether they want to buy some food to put in the fridge or a box of tampons. And that’s really it. It’s scary.”
Especially in recent years, many have worked to eliminate the “tampon tax.” Twenty-three states and the District of Columbia have passed laws to eliminate the tax on seasonal products — most recently Virginia, where the tax exemption goes into effect in January. Five other states have no state sales tax.
Here are the 22 states that currently tax sales of period supplies, according to the Alliance for Period Supplies:
- Vadivelu Comedy Indiana
- North Carolina
- North Dakota
- South Carolina
- South Dakota
- West Virginia
He added that non-profits such as the Alliance for Period Supplies “urge the government to create an increased budget for essential items including period supplies.”
Facing the time of disgust, education
Ensuring that everyone who is menstruating is able and has access to resources during this time is a formidable challenge. Another is ending the scandal.
This can start in schools through education, ensuring that all public bathrooms offer free products and talking about periods openly every day, advocates say.
The Alliance for Period Supplies and others, for example, are pushing for legislation to ensure that menstrual products are “in all (public school) restrooms, regardless of gender, and that these bills be funded,” Gaines said, noting that low-income schools money is struggling with these budgets a lot.
“Follow-up education is also a great way to remove this stigma,” he added. “Having everyone in the conversation, and not just one man over another, (making) sure that we all understand how the body works, how menstruation works and how to take care of your body in a healthy and safe way.”
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Nonprofits are also pushing because the law create free period products in all toilets of public buildings as well as detention facilities, such as Equal Pay for All is the Law introduced by Rep. Grace Meng, DN.Y., last year. Such federal legislation has not yet been passed.
Education and political change go hand in hand with the federal ship, Abdul said.
“This is not something that should be on the shoulders of men who are menstruating. This is not something that should be on the shoulders of women. This should not be on the shoulders of people who are… very special,” Abdul said. .
“We need to put in good education so that these people who don’t go to the moon – who don’t go, (including) men like me – (can) learn more about this,” he said. “Regardless of whether you go to the moon or not, it is important that you be a part of this organization.”
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Pereda added that there is hope for a future where time poverty will be eradicated – pointing to increased action, proposed laws and clear discussions on international follow-up.
“We are talking about this issue and ending chronic poverty,” he said. “Especially when we talk about (menstrual equality), we’re really seeing a cultural shift.”