When it comes to menstrual hygiene products there are now more choices than ever. No longer do we have to use old towels (to literally be ‘on the rag’) or attach bulky pads to our bodies using a plastic belt. From reusable cups, to period underwear, to tampons as compact as a chapstick tube, to safe birth control methods that reduce or eliminate periods altogether, many people who menstruate have never had more options. However, it is estimated that more than 500 million people (predominantly girls and women) throughout the world still have inadequate access to menstrual hygiene products and proper sanitation. For many, monthly menstruation remains a source of economic stress and shame. For this Take Action Tuesday, we want to address the menstruation taboo that continues to predominantly negatively influence women and girls around the globe, we want to talk about periods!
Inspired by the United Way of Canada’s Tampon Tuesday campaign and our very own St. Louis pod, we urge you to donate menstrual hygiene products to a shelter, food bank, or through online organizations that serve girls and women in need all over the world. Check with your local shelter, food bank, YWCA, or similar group to find out if they are in need of menstrual hygiene products. Some good organizations you can donate to online include: Support the Girls, Femme International, and Days for Girls.
Be conscious to use ungendered language when talking about menstruation. Not all women menstruate and not all individuals who menstruate are women. Further, ideas that equate “womanhood” to menstruation can be harmful.
The Tampon Tax. Kenya was the first country to eliminate its Tampon Tax, in 2004. Canada dropped the tax on menstrual hygiene products in 2015. In 2017, Tesco, a major retailer in the UK agreed to lower prices of tampons and pads by 5%, effectively covering for the tax applied. But 36 states in the US and many countries worldwide still tax menstrual hygiene products. Take action by writing to your local and state representatives, asking them to recognize menstrual hygiene products as necessities by exempting them from sales tax.