When it comes to periods, there’s a whole lot to talk about – and in 2022, the conversation is even more pertinent because of the drastic effect COVID-19 has had, and continues to have, on menstruators. Each day, an estimated 300 million people menstruate. Being able to manage their menstruation safely, hygienically and with confidence is critical for their health, education, human rights, economic development, and overall gender equality. Before the COVID-19 pandemic started, more than 500 million menstruators worldwide did not have what they needed to manage their period in a healthy, dignified way, and the pandemic has only worsened the menstruation-related challenges many around the world face.
PERIOD STIGMA DRIVES INEQUITIES
A significant catalyst for period inequities is period stigma — the discrimination faced by people who menstruate. Across the globe, this manifests in many ways, ranging from lighthearted jokes to negative assumptions and dehumanization. There is also a stigma around the experience of menstruating as a trans person.
The shame associated with periods prevents people from talking about them, resulting in a lack of dialogue regarding access to menstrual products. Period poverty is an important, yet often overlooked public health crisis that occurs both in the United States and abroad. The consequences of period poverty are dire; from keeping girls out of school to negatively impacting their physical and emotional health.
The best way to create change for the next generation is to normalize menstruation, stop the spread of dangerous misinformation and help menstruators feel confident about their periods. In celebration of Menstrual Hygiene Day (May 28), we call for people everywhere to stop the cycle and end period stigma. Talk about it. Period.