Menstrual Equity Starts with ME
Menstrual equity refers to providing access to affordable menstrual products and educating all about reproductive health. This social movement is in line with attaining social equality amongst all genders, ages, and individuals.
Period poverty occurs because there is a lack of access to safe and affordable menstrual products.Those who menstruate, are forced to choose between their safety and hygiene over education or work. These missed opportunities often accumulate and eventually contribute to an ever-growing financial gap. Period poverty is exacerbated by substandard hygiene conditions, lack of access or high cost of products (e.g. tampon tax), and poor reproductive health education.
In addition to lack of access to products and proper education, to this day, there exists a cultural and social stigma around periods. People still think that menstruation is “impure” or a “curse”. Some women are even forced to stay in a separate area and are not allowed in certain areas, such as religious gatherings. This stigma is deeply ingrained in some societies and furthers the inequality between genders.
At wear:change, we love connecting our causes to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, and menstrual equity is also closely linked to a number of them. Firstly, SDG 3, good health and wellbeing, focuses on the wellbeing of those who menstruate. Access to drinking water, menstrual products, and safe bathrooms are a priority. Women who don’t use safe products are susceptible to a plethora of life-threatening health conditions that could be easily prevented.
Second, SDG 5, gender equality, is also directly impacted by menstrual equity. Period poverty is much more likely to impact women than men, and if women are held back in education and the workplace, the negative consequences on families and the economy at large are multifold. Menstrual equity aims to make menstruating easier for women so that they don’t have to continue making hard choices and levels the playing field.
Lastly, SDG 12, responsible consumption and production, though this is not directly impacted by menstrual equity, the topic of sustainable consumption has come up in all areas of life. More privileged communities have the luxury to choose between sustainable options and plastic-based products, however, underprivileged communities have been relying on reusable products for decades. With growing concerns about the environment and reproductive health, we hope the mass movement towards cloth or cups will be responsible, affordable, and safe.
So, why does menstrual equity matter to me?
The chances that either you, or someone you know, menstruates are very high. Though the ability to menstruate is empowering, a sign that you can produce life, unfortunately, it holds many back. Women are not the only people who menstruate, but there is a significantly higher chance that they will suffer the brunt of the inequity that our society has. This unnecessary injustice has to end.
Our latest MENSTRUAL EQUITY line is in collaboration with the NGO, The Period Society, which is dedicated to funding affordable and safe menstrual products, educating communities on reproductive health, and ending the period stigma in India.
It is up to us to work towards a more equitable society, and that means standing up for all, whether we understand their pain or not. #wearthechangewithus