There’s been so much in the news lately about period poverty. About how one in ten teens can’t afford sanity products. Honestly, I find that insane. I guess I’m privileged in that I can’t seem to understand how someone can’t afford 66p for a packet of own brand pads or £1 for own brand tampons. So I decided to do a bit of research to understand a bit better.
There’s a figure flying about thanks to a 2015 survey. In the survey, they asked 2,134 women aged 16 to 45 how much they spent on their period each month. The results: women spend £500 a year on managing their periods on average.
As someone that buys one box of supermarkets own tampons for £1 a month, this seemed nuts to me.
Reading into the study a bit more, this cost included new underwear, pain relief as well as any other items a woman might buy while on her period, such as chocolate, crisps, magazines, and DVDs.
Some women also need more than just a box of tampons – since I’ve been taking my pill I’ve been blessed with light, pain-free periods but I do realise that not everyone is that lucky. Before I was on the pill I did go through more boxes of tampons and I needed 3 different sizes, but that still came to less than £5.
I do think adding other things such as ‘DVDs, magazines, and snacks’ is a bit misleading to the figure!
That being said, this doesn’t take away the fact that there are still many girls unable to afford even a few pounds a month to manage their periods. And that’s really troubling.
I was horrified to find out that some teenagers skip school because they don’t have the right products to protect them from bleeding onto their school uniform. Some girls use stocks stuffed with tissue. Old t-shirts. Newspaper. I am horrified.
My parents were not rich by any means, but I always had the essentials. Period products are not a luxury in my eyes, they are something that girls and women need to live their lives normally. I remember being 14 and the first few months of having my period. I was so paranoid of leaks, of smelling, of people being able to see a bulge on my bum. I would have given anything for a product like Knixteen when I was younger! If I was paranoid and distressed while having enough pads, panty liners and tampons, how must these young girls who don’t have any of that feel?
I have recently signed a petition to get schools to offer free sanitary products to all girls who get free school dinners. And you should, too.