Period poverty is a term used to describe the lack of access to menstrual products, adequate sanitation facilities, and relevant information about menstrual health management. It affects people who menstruate, particularly those living in low-income households or in poverty, as well as those who face other barriers such as social stigma, cultural taboos, and gender discrimination.

Period poverty can prevent individuals from participating fully in school, work, and social activities, as well as jeopardizing their physical and emotional health. People who cannot afford to buy menstrual products often resort to using ineffective and potentially harmful alternatives, such as rags, newspapers, or leaves, which can lead to infections and other health complications.

Moreover, menstrual stigma can further exacerbate the problem of period poverty by making it difficult for people to talk about their experiences and seek support. This stigma can also lead to discriminatory practices, such as exclusion from schools, workplaces, and public spaces during menstruation.

To address period poverty, it is important to provide access to affordable and safe menstrual products, improve sanitation facilities, and promote education and awareness about menstrual health management. This can involve policy changes, such as providing free menstrual products in schools and public spaces, as well as addressing underlying factors such as poverty, gender inequality, and discrimination.

How can commercial facilities provide more access to free period products?

Commercial facilities can play an important role in addressing period poverty by providing free access to menstrual products. Here are some ways they can do this:
  1. Install free period product dispensers: Commercial facilities can install free period product dispensers in their restrooms, which can provide a convenient and discreet way for individuals to access the products they need. These dispensers can be stocked with pads, tampons, and menstrual cups, and can be refilled regularly.
  2. Offer free period products at the front desk: Facilities such as gyms, hotels, and community centers can offer free period products at the front desk, making them easily accessible to anyone who needs them.
  3. Partner with local organizations: Commercial facilities can partner with local organizations that distribute menstrual products to those in need. They can provide space for these organizations to store and distribute products, as well as help with fundraising and awareness-raising efforts.
  4. Make menstrual products available in vending machines: Some facilities have vending machines that dispense menstrual products, which can be an affordable and accessible option for individuals who may not have access to them elsewhere.
  5. Provide education and resources: In addition to providing free menstrual products, commercial facilities can also provide education and resources on menstrual health and management. This can include posters, brochures, and other materials that provide information on topics such as menstrual hygiene, period tracking, and menstrual product options.
By taking these steps, commercial facilities can help ensure that individuals have access to the menstrual products they need, regardless of their financial situation. This can help address period poverty and promote menstrual health and well-being.