Period equity is a term used to describe the equal and fair access to menstrual products, education, and facilities. It is a fundamental human right that has been neglected for far too long. Menstruation is a natural bodily function that affects approximately half of the world’s population, yet it is still stigmatized and shrouded in shame. The lack of period equity has significant consequences for the health, education, and economic opportunities of individuals who menstruate. In this essay, we will explore the importance of period equity and the steps that need to be taken to achieve it.
First Step to Period Equity
The first step towards achieving period equity is to address the stigma surrounding menstruation. Menstruation has been considered a taboo topic in many cultures, leading to a lack of education and awareness about the menstrual cycle. This lack of education contributes to the shame and embarrassment that many individuals feel about their periods. It also perpetuates harmful myths and misconceptions about menstruation, such as the idea that periods are dirty or that they make women weak.
Importance of Honesty
To combat this stigma, we need to start talking openly and honestly about menstruation. This includes providing comprehensive sex education that covers menstrual health and hygiene. It also means challenging harmful stereotypes and beliefs about periods through media representation and public discourse. When we normalize menstruation and treat it as a natural part of life, we can reduce the shame and stigma that prevent individuals from accessing the resources they need.
The second step towards achieving period equity is to ensure that menstrual products are affordable and accessible to all. Menstrual products such as pads, tampons, and menstrual cups are essential items that should be treated like any other basic necessity. However, the reality is that many individuals cannot afford these products, which can lead to serious health consequences.
Period Equity in Different Countries
In some countries, menstrual products are subject to a luxury tax, making them more expensive than they should be. This tax disproportionately affects low-income individuals who may already struggle to make ends meet. Additionally, many public spaces such as schools and workplaces do not provide free menstrual products, leaving individuals to fend for themselves. To achieve period equity, we need to make menstrual products affordable and accessible to all. This can be done by eliminating the luxury tax on menstrual products and providing free products in public spaces. It can also be achieved through government programs that provide financial assistance to low-income individuals for menstrual products. When menstrual products are affordable and accessible, individuals can manage their periods with dignity and without fear of financial hardship.
- The third step towards achieving period equity is to provide safe and hygienic facilities for individuals who menstruate. Many public spaces such as schools, workplaces, and public restrooms do not have adequate facilities for individuals who menstruate. This can lead to embarrassment and discomfort, as well as an increased risk of infection.
To address this issue, we need to ensure that all public spaces have safe and hygienic facilities for individuals who menstruate. This includes providing clean and private restrooms with adequate supplies of menstrual products. It also means ensuring that facilities are equipped with proper disposal systems for used menstrual products.
In addition to providing safe and hygienic facilities, we also need to address the issue of period poverty. Period poverty refers to the lack of access to menstrual products and facilities due to financial constraints. It is a significant issue that affects millions of individuals around the world.
At the End
Finally, to address period poverty, we need to implement policies that provide financial assistance for menstrual products and facilities. This can be achieved through government programs that provide free or subsidized menstrual products to low-income individuals. It can also be achieved through partnerships with non-profit organizations that work to provide menstrual products and education to marginalized communities.
In conclusion, period equity is a fundamental human right that has been neglected for far too long. Achieving period equity requires addressing the stigma surrounding menstruation, ensuring that menstrual products are affordable and accessible to all, and providing safe and hygienic facilities for individuals who menstruate. By taking these steps, we can ensure that individuals who menstruate can manage their periods with dignity and without fear of financial hardship or embarrassment. Period equity is not just a women’s issue; it is a human rights issue that affects us all.