Period Poverty in Underprivileged Sections

Period poverty is the struggle and inability of girls and women to access and afford safe and hygienic menstrual products. This is due to economic poverty, lack of awareness and poor standards of hygiene.

Women turn to unsafe and unhygienic practices such as using ash, rag, hay, sand etc since these are not expensive. This increases the chances of contracting infections and UTIs. 

Causes of Period Poverty in India

  1. Lack of Awareness : There is an acute shortage of information and knowledge about menstruation, menstrual hygiene and menstrual health. Among the underpriviled sections of the society, knowledge of menstrual hygiene is severely limited. Not only that, several misinformations and myths prevail. 
  1. Taboos and Stigmas : The matters are made even worse by persistence of taboos and stigmas. There is shame associated with talking about menstruation. The effect of such a thinking process is that the existing views about menstruation get normalized amidst the hush-hush silence. 
  1. Lack of Access : There are around 40 crore menstruating people in India. However, less than 20% of them alone are able to access sanitary pads. Other sanitary products like menstrual cups are restricted only to urban areas. Combined with lack of knowledge, lack of affordability makes it difficult to use better quality sanitary products.
  1. Poor Standards of Hygiene : India has several issues regarding standards of hygiene. These include water scarcity, lack of toilet facilities, unclean toilets and lack of menstrual products themselves. Lack of privacy to change pads is also a major factor in the period poverty.

Effects of Period Poverty

Increased incidences of hygiene-related infections and UTIs take place due to period poverty. It is increasingly difficult to focus on other aspects of life when women are unable to deal properly with menstrual health.

According to research, 71% of Indian females said they were unaware about menstruation before their first period. This lack of preparation causes worry, fear, displeasure with the circumstance, and leads to school dropouts. About ⅕ of girls in India dropout after menstruation starts.