Maybe you grew up having a period or were around a mom, sister, or girlfriend that did. There were the inconveniences of having a period—the tender breasts, the achy abdomen, the inevitable leak on your white pants, or having "Aunt Flo" surprise you the first time you're about to be intimate with a new partner. Annoying? For sure. Embarrassing? Totally. But, hey, that's just part of being a female, right?
Strolling the grocery store's aisles, you toss a box of tampons into your cart along with the frozen pizza, the pinot grigio, and your favorite cereal. Just stuff you need to stock up on, right?
Whoa, hold up! Over the average lifetime of someone that menstruates, the cost of purchasing tampons is more than $6,000. When you consider that females generally earn just 70% of what their male colleagues make and that 56% of those living in poverty in the US are females, the cost of being female can be an insurmountable burden. Period poverty exists, and it's not just an issue of gender equality; it's a human rights issue.
Thanks to bold advocates and policymakers putting the spotlight on women's health, some shifts have made period products more accessible. Still, only six states have mandated that period products be available in schools. Only 20 states have abandoned the "Pink Tax" on period products. It wasn't until 2017 that the US Department of Justice agreed to provide incarcerated women in federal prisons with period products for free.
But the actual cost of having a period goes beyond the expense. 1 in 5 females reports missing school or work because they lack period products, which negatively impacts their education and earning outcomes. They may also attempt to use non-hygienic means to manage their periods leading to infections and long-term health issues. Being able to exist with dignity and equality are foundational human rights. Having access to period products should not be a luxury.
In observance of Women's Equality Day, we are hosting a tampon/hygiene product drive at our Twelve Oaks and Holden stores. Customers can also donate online by selecting the "Donate a Box of Tampons" button at checkout. Proceeds from the drive will be donated to the Coalition on Temporary Shelter (COTS). We are hosting this drive to draw attention to one of the most subversive ways females are discriminated against in the United States.
Women's Equality Day celebrates the adoption of the 19th Amendment, granting women the right to vote. The most significant way you can advocate for women is to VOTE. We have midterm elections just a few months away. VOTE for advocates and allies of women's rights. VOTE for people who value women's autonomy. VOTE for people that are committed to women's health care. Women's rights are human rights.
"I ask no favors for my sex. I surrender not our claim to equality. All I ask of our brethren is that they will take their feet from off our necks." –Sarah Grimké in 1837