This is a sponsored post for Always.
When I was asked if I’d like to help put an end to period poverty, I was naively unaware that such a thing even existed. Although I know my middle-class life shelters my family from certain hardship others have to face, this was a problem I was completely ignorant about.
And now that my eyes are open to this problem, I really want to help eradicate it. As a mother, I can’t imagine how hard it must be to not be able to meet this very basic need for your child. This is not okay!
I have two daughters of my own and I am so grateful that this is one worry they don’t have.
What Is Period Poverty?
Period poverty is a term to describe families that cannot afford period protection. If you’re struggling to keep the power on in your home and get food on the table, period protection is considered a luxury.
As a result, many girls miss important activities because they don’t have a way to participate without risking embarrassment. Can you imagine as a teenage girl (when self-confidence is already shaky) having to decide between missing school or going and having a leak stain your pants in public?
My youngest daughter LOVES sports. It would break her heart to miss practice or a game for any reason, let alone one that shouldn’t be an issue.
The thought that there are girls who actually face this dilemma on a regular basis is saddening. And they do. Nearly 1 in 5 girls have missed activities because they can’t afford period protection.
What’s the Big Deal?
If you’re thinking that missing out on a few activities throughout the year isn’t a big deal, please consider these points.
First, let’s talk about school. Our kids spend 6 to 7 hours in school each day. That’s a lot of learning, socialization opportunities, and exposure to other perspectives and ideas that are missed in just a single day.
Whether a girl is a strong student taking challenging courses or a struggling student just trying to do well enough to have some post-high school opportunities, missing school means making up work, which is an added stress on top of the daily strain of being a teen girl.
And remember, we’re talking about teen girls who are also on their periods and whose families are enduring financial hardships.
But school isn’t the only thing girls miss when they can’t afford period protection. They also have to skip extracurriculars.
No school also means no clubs, sports, or social events. Those extracurriculars are really important too!
My oldest daughter loves participating in outdoor activities with her friends. I love that she always looks this happy in almost every picture we have from these activities.
For some girls, the extracurricular activities are the ones that contribute the most to their confidence and joy. Unlike core classes they’re required to take, girls choose extracurricular activities that are related to their interests and passions.
And we all know that when we enjoy an activity, we tend to put in more effort. As a result, we also grow the most in these areas.
So, when a girl has to miss a chorus performance or a field hockey game because she doesn’t have period protection, she loses traction in the one area where she was likely getting the most positive reinforcement and growth. Plus, she is more likely to feel bad about letting her team or group down since she wasn’t available when they were counting on her.
It’s possible that period poverty could also result in lost opportunities. Two summers ago my oldest daughter had a job as a camp counselor. She couldn’t have risked being away for 3 weeks if she was worried about getting her period while she was away.
As an isolated incident, perhaps a day or activity missed isn’t an event that derails someone’s entire life. However, multiple incidents must start to erode how a girl feels about herself.
It stands to reason that if a girl experiences period poverty, it is an ongoing problem and will compound to negatively impact her quality of life and self-perception. Eventually, this will keep her from reaching her full potential.
How to Help End Period Poverty
Now that I’ve informed you of period poverty, let me tell you how we can help. Since I’m a huge fan of performing random acts of kindness, one idea I love is to buy Always pads and donate to the school nurse and to local homeless and domestic abuse shelters.
An even easier way to help is to simply spread the word. Watch the following video and then share it with everyone you know.
I’m sure many people are like me and haven’t even thought about it. I love what Always and Walmart are doing to #EndPeriodPoverty. If we can make more people aware this problem exists, then perhaps more people will be willing to help. Always Live #LikeAGirl #EndPeriodPoverty