Homelessness and Your Period
“There’s a layer of shame when you don’t have a pad or tampon, and an extra layer of shame when you can’t afford it.
This is not only a Women’s issue as it is a Life issue. Maybe men don’t understand this so let me address only the women at this point.
Being able to access products is certainly a big deal for the homeless women in our society.
Not only them as this need is wide-spread from middle school to beyond as long as you menstruate. For example, what if you were in the middle of class and your period started. There are times when you can’t predict it and can’t control it.
You know it will come, but not the exact time, so you have nothing with you and you have to leave school because of what we women call an “accident.” Your clothes are usually ruined and you are too embarrassed to go back to class.
You probably don’t have any extra clothes with you to cover up the problem. So now you have to go home and miss out on the day’s curriculum. This cuts down on how you thrive.
According to the United Nations Girls Education Initiative, a girl who misses school because of her period is estimated to miss an average of two and a half weeks of school each year. Other estimates say girls may miss up to 20% of the school year. These girls are then at risk of dropping out, which may then be costly to the economy — and to them.
Per an article in Teen Vogue:
In the homeless situation, not being able to thrive might mean missing a job interview, meaning you then miss out on the job that may have changed your housing situation. It might also mean not going to school for fear of bleeding through your pants. Stephanie M., who also asked that her last name not be used, told Teen Vogue that she would routinely miss school because of her period when she was young and experiencing homelessness.
“I wish that I would have been able to go to school,” Stephanie told Teen Vogue. “It was another chaotic thing added on to my life. It was definitely something I was stressed about and anxious about.” Also, headaches, migraines and the pain of cramps all add up to loss of productive hours.
Stigma, Stephanie told Teen Vogue, plays a big part in why people experiencing homelessness lack access to menstrual products. Not only does it create a sense of shame and embarrassment, it’s part of why period products aren’t a regular part of things we donate or consider giving away.
I SUPPORT THE GIRLS ORGANIZATION
There is an organization, “I Support The Girls” that is helping women to have better and easier access to bras, underwear, and menstrual products. This is one of the largest group of men and women helping women to get what they need when they have no money to buy these products.
They donated products to a lot of the women that were effected by the government shutdown as it came to light that people do actually live from paycheck to paycheck. I don’t care who you are.They have the same expenses when there is income or not.
I am only bringing home the point and increasing the awareness of this problem as it effects women over the globe.
That’s half of the population of the world. We can do better.
Jo Ann Harris is an author, parent, book devotee, writer, copywriter, and film fanatic. She is an autodidact who learns about everything and rows her own boat. She grew up and worked in Atlanta, Georgia and lived there sixty years. She writes articles about love, hope, personal life stories, advice and poems. She is a published author with an article published in Woman’s World magazine in October, 2017. You can read more of her work in her publication on Medium named Poems From The Heart by Jo Ann or just go to her profile page.