(WTRF) — Women make up half of the world’s population, and with that comes the necessities of sanitary products, according to CBS News.
Average costs for these items are $11.00 per month, and for many, this is a luxury.
Hey Girls a social enterprise is aimed at changing this and providing free sanitary options for all. A new law was passed earlier this year in Scotland proclaiming that would provide free tampons and sanitary pads to anyone who needs them in order to end period poverty. Hey Girls is a proud manufacturer of some of these products.
A representative of Hey Girls, Ailsa Colquhoun, told CBS News that period poverty is defined as needing to make the choice between a packet of period products and food or energy.
The World Bank has measured this issue and found that 500 million women around the world lack access to menstrual supplies. In 2019, a study in St. Louis, Missouri found that two thirds of low income women could not afford period products.
In Scotland it was found that 25% of women enrolled in any type of school have experienced period poverty, stated CBS News.
This lack of supplies lead women to use unsafe or poor quality items while on their menstrual cycle. Colquhoun shared that many women don’t leave the house, missing days of work or important interviews. One of the low cost options is using a piece of bread.
This information led Scottish politician, Monica Lennon, to propose legislation in 2019 in favor of supporting women’s health needs, even though the subject matter was uncomfortable for her colleagues to discuss. Choosing to make the conversation more normal helped to change the conversation.
The government in Scotland, now a pro-active helper, has assisted Hey Girls in launching an app to map where the free products are located. They have made it easy to find the free supplies at pharmacies, schools, universities and public buildings like libraries.
The demand for the free products are doubling every month and shows the need for other countries to get on board with this simple plan.
South Africa, New Zealand, and South Korea, along with some U.S. cities have started providing period products to women at public schools and colleges.
Lennon stated that the effort is helping women feel valued and respected, and that periods are normal.