Menstrual Poverty is still ‘a thing’ in 2020

It’s 2020, while the world is fighting a global pandemic, however the women and young girls in South Africa are facing a societal issue. Some may call it the burden of women-hood – our menstrual cycles.

As our matrics and grade 7’s go back to school to catch up with their academic studies, we are reminded of that fact that an estimated 3.7 million girls in our country cannot afford sanitary towels (research conducted by Global Citizen) How do you find x in the triangle while you’re concerned about what is happening in your underwear and if it’s going to show when you get up after this class?? Let us be clear, a woman cannot reach her full potential without proper menstrual hygiene.

Not only is it impossible to reach your potential like this but you have to process the human emotions of anxiety and embarrassment which contributes to poor performance at school. A pack of pads costs an average of R25. Typically, a girl goes on her period for 7 days a month, which means each month she must have a minimum of two packets of pads which costs R50 per month. While this number may seem minuscule to some, for others it’s R50 too much.

Many young girls enter a new menstrual cycle every month, without really knowing when and how they will get their next pad. This uncertainty can immensely hamper the confidence and academic progress of a girl child, who, like her male counterpart, has an unequivocal right to access education. However, she is often relegated to staying at home because of something as natural and consistent as her G-d given period.

This is how ordinary South Africans can help fight menstrual poverty:

  1. Donate sanitary towels (even just one packet) to an NGO or organisation that runs a pad drive. Such as the #1976girls by Lindiwe Sanitary Pads, which aims at manufacturing and donating pads to 1976 school girls across the country, and other similar initiatives.
  2. You can adopt a girl child and sponsor them with monthly menstrual hygiene products.
  3. Raising awareness within your circles about those in need as this will help reach potential donors and look to have an anonymous pad drop off for those in need.
  4. Liaise with menstrual hygiene product manufacturers, like Lindiwe Pads, for affordable bulk buying.
  5. Educating young and vulnerable women on the importance of menstrual hygiene and how to go about achieving it, which includes how to properly use pads and other sanitary products.

The last thing a young adolescent girl needs is to face societal pressures outside and still come back home to fight menstrual poverty behind closed doors. We are the generation of changing the status quo, why not show menstrual poverty who is boss?

This information was sponsored to it’s a Sher thing by Lindiwe Sanitary Pads.

Photo by Patrick Kool on Unsplash