Period poverty can be defined as a lack of getting proper menstrual education, hygiene facilities, access to menstrual products, and waste management. This is a serious concern, especially in countries like India, where women still deal with taboos around menstruation. Most importantly, the young girls never confidently speak about periods and their problems. This is due to a lack of education both at home and school.
Even elder women are facing problems like hygiene issues due to period poverty. Lack of hygiene is the reason women are suffering from diseases and serious infections. Moreover, in the menopause period, the symptoms are ignored, which leads to major health disorders. In India, studies have shown that about 71% of girls do not have menstruation before their first period.
Recovery From Period Poverty
India is gradually recovering from period poverty with women’s health becoming a major concern in the country. The government has developed programs to educate women and young girls to maintain menstrual hygiene and know everything about menstruation. The on-ground programs are implemented to remove the taboos about the period and educate young girls to speak about their periods without hesitating.
Menstruation or a period cycle brings higher chance of infection rate among women. Therefore, adoption of safe hygiene practices is very important. The awareness programs are helping women to remain updated on health issues and find ways to maintain hygiene.
Recovering From Impacts Of Period Poverty
Period poverty impacts women physically, mentally, and socially. It directly shows a negative impact on education, health, and emotional well-being of not just women, but also impacts the society at large.
- Impact On Education and Work
Young girls, especially in rural areas, would often stop going to school, missing out on their education because of menstrual cycle. Their family would also advise them not to move out of their rooms. Study shows that a majority of the girls in rural villages miss education due to periods.
Many working women miss going to their workplace during period days. The other reason behind this has been menstrual cramps and pains. The government has initiated distributing free sanitary pads in government schools and colleges. This has encouraged young girls to complete their education.
Moreover, the public has also become concerned about women’s health. Every sector with women employees started providing women hygiene products and sanitary pads at a time of necessity. This has increased women’s employment in India in every field.
India, in the future, can plan to implement flexible working hours for women during their period days. Most women find it difficult to work due to cramps and other period symptoms. Flexible working hours can increase women’s employment rate in the country.
Period poverty in India can also lead to economic impact through productivity loss. Schools and workplaces were not taking measures for women’s menstrual health. But now everything is gradually changing in the country. Flexibility and open conversations about menstrual hygiene are solving the problems.
- Impact On Health Condition
Physical education at schools is also being affected during the period cycle. Due to periods, the young girls do not participate in physical activities like sports and events. This has severely impacted their health by not being active. The taboos did not allow women to take part in sports. Also, the unavailability of the right menstrual products has become a major concern.
The rural women also tend to adopt unhealthy practices, owing to poverty. The right products don’t reach them. Due to this, the girls suffer from infections, irritation, and period-related disorders including PCOS, PCOD, hormonal disorders, and many more. Women in urban areas are also unaware of these disorders. Due to lack of knowledge and ignoring the symptoms of serious health problems such as uterus cancer, vaginal infection, etc., have increased.
Access to menstrual products was limited, forcing women to adopt uncomfortable and unsafe practices. In some cases, the women repeatedly use products like menstruation cloths which increase the risk of bacterial infections.
- Impact on Emotional Well-Being
Due to the period poverty in India, women’s mental health also gets affected badly. Young girls and women feel ashamed and embarrassed to speak about their problems. They miss their PE lessons, giving excuses because of not having proper menstrual wear.
Symptoms of nausea, vomiting, stabbing pains, and cramps lead to mental stress and depression. The symptoms disrupt daily routines and work schedule of menstruating women. There is a need to take precautionary measures regarding mental stress due to the period poverty. Menstrual products must be made accessible and affordable for all women. Many brands have launched products that are affordable for every woman.