Why Are Women Having to Pay Over $5000 for a Simple Necessity?

Why Are Women Having to Pay Over $5000 for a Simple Necessity?

Lily Woodham, Reporter

At the young age of 12 years old, girls start to get their period and along with the new feeling of maturity comes thousands of dollars spent on menstrual products. Although $10 a box doesn’t seem like much at the time, over a lifetime women spend over $5,000 on pads, tampons, etc. 

With this new responsibility, most girls rely on their mothers to buy them products which doubles the annual spending from $170 to $340. It is difficult for girls to learn how to handle their period which often leads to leaks and embarrassment. Not only does it ruin someone’s day, but due to the fact that there aren’t free products available, girls have to walk down to the nurses office, missing lots of class time. 4 in 5 teenages girls have had to miss school due to their period or cramps. 

500 million a year are not able to afford menstrual products. 64% of women struggle to afford the basic necessities of pads and tampons. 46% of women are not able to afford food and menstrual hygiene products. Homeless shelters are overcrowded, therefore not able to supply these necessities to women. This leads to women using make-shift products out of things like tissue paper or socks and the re-use of products. The result: Toxic Shock Syndrome. Better known as TSS, toxic shock syndrome is a life threatening illness that begins from the build up of bacteria. 

There is a movement that is trying to get started in the U.S. called The Menstrual Equity for All Act which would send federal grant funds to schools, prisons and homeless shelters so people can have access to period products. The only state that has anything like this in place right now is California with the Assembly Bill 367. It requires all public schools grades 6-12, state colleges and community colleges to provide free menstrual products. 

By not allowing period products to be free, women are forced to choose between menstrual products or food.