Edinburgh — Sanitary products are a necessity for half of the world’s population.
With the cost rising to $11 a month, these items have become a luxury for many women.
But a social organization called Hey Girls is trying to change that by providing free sanitary products.
aMaking Scotland the first country in the world to provide free tampons and sanitary pads to anyone who needs them in a step towards ending period poverty. Hey Girls manufactures some of these products.
Ailsa Colquhoun of Hey Girls told CBS News, “We define period poverty as having to choose between a packet of period products and a packet of pasta or some other, you know, basic necessity, Be it energy or food.” Roxana Saberi. “And when people can afford menstrual products, they obviously opt for food and energy. So that means getting what you need for your period.”
Globally, 500 million women and girls do not have access to menstrual products, according to the World Bank. In the US, a 2019 study in St. Louis found that two-thirds of low-income women could not afford menstrual products. In Scotland, a quarter of girls attending school, colleges and universities have experienced period poverty.
The consequences of period poverty sometimes lead women to use unsafe or poor quality items during their menstrual cycle.
“They may not be able to leave their house, and that means missing days of work,” Colhoun said. “If they choose to go to the workplace or interview, they have to use something substandard. Even things like bread.”
This prompted Scottish politician Monica Lennon to propose legislation in 2019, despite the fact that the subject was uncomfortable for some to discuss.
“I think there were some red faces,” Lennon said. “I think we felt weird about it, but I think it shows that we need a change in culture where we normalize discussions about menstruation. It’s about changing the conversation. “
To aid the effort, the government in Scotland has helped Hey Girls launch an app showing where to collect the free products, including pharmacies, schools universities and public buildings.
For example, in Glasgow, women are directed to a public library to collect their menstrual products.
According to Lauren Haynie of a homeless charity called The Simon Community, demand is doubling every month. Heaney believes such programs should be replicated in other countries.
“This is not a difficult project to replicate,” she said. “It’s really simple, and the benefits it brings to people are really great.”
In the US, some cities and states have started giving free period products to public schools and colleges. South Africa, South Korea and New Zealand have started taking similar steps.
Lennon said, “It’s about valuing and respecting women and girls.” “It’s a sign, and it sends the message that menstruation is normal.”