Young women in Birmingham, and across the country, are missing school as often as monthly for a simple reason - they cannot afford feminine hygiene products when they are on their period. In the U.S., the issue – referred to as period poverty – keeps 1 out of 5 girls out of school during their monthly cycle. In low-income communities or school districts designated as Title 1, as many as 4 out of 5 girls miss at least one day of school each month due to the lack of period supplies.
Tampons, pads, and other menstrual hygiene products are not accessible to economically insecure menstruators via food stamps, health insurance, or Medicaid coverage. The tax on menstrual health products, or “tampon tax,” targets Americans who menstruate and creates a financial barrier for menstruators who are unhoused, incarcerated, or simply struggling to make ends meet. When faced with
the prospect of stretching a few dollars, women often put
their children’s needs first - choosing food over feminine hygiene products they or their older daughters may need. They then are forced to use paper towels, cut-up diapers, socks or newspapers as a substitute for tampons or pads.
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