Did you know that an average woman has about 13 periods a year and goes through two packs of pads per cycle? This means that annually we spend more than 8,400 RSD only on hygiene products, following the current prices.
When we think of the entire life cycle, the situation becomes even more serious. The first menstruation usually occurs around the age of 11, and according to the World Health Organization, menopause usually begins around 51. According to current prices, women spend more than 330,000 RSD on pads and tampons during their lifetime. This is a significant amount that must be taken into account.
On the other hand, data show that less than 33 percent of women in Serbia have a paid, regular job. This reminds us of the importance of balance and support for all women as well as a need for creating a space where they can discuss these issues openly and freely. In this way, we work together to ease the challenges that come with menstruation and reduce the financial burden on women.
In this regard, the global problem of “menstrual poverty” causes serious challenges and affects girls, and womenall over the world, both in developed and underdeveloped countries. This problem stems from a number of cultural and economic factors, and understanding its causes is key to finding a solution. Therefore, to prevent it, it is important to familiarize yourself with key information about menstrual poverty and what it actually is.
Menstrual poverty refers to the lack of access to menstrual hygiene products due to financial constraints. This problem affects as many as half a million of the 1.9 billion women worldwide. It is especially visible in places where basic needs are not met, where only a small part of the population has access to basic sanitary equipment.
Thus, lack of access to hygiene products can lead to serious physical problems, including infections and complications of the reproductive organs. It also has a significant impact on mental well-being, causing depression and stigma, especially in cultures where menstruation is considered impure.
Menstruation-related poverty limits girls’ education in areas where there are no adequate conditions for menstrual hygiene or where they are prohibited from entering school during menstruation. This leads to a loss of education and makes it difficult to advance in life.
In addition, there are often cultural and social taboos surrounding menstruation that contribute to menstrual poverty. These include stigma and misunderstandings and often lead to shame and lack of information.
Addressing menstrual poverty is a complex issue that requires a combination of economic and cultural interventions. Investing in education, overcoming stigma, and ensuring access to menstrual hygiene products is key. This is an issue that concerns all of us and requires joint efforts to change perceptions and help millions of women around the world.
As we have already mentioned, menstrual poverty is not limited to certain countries or regions but is a global problem, including Serbia. In Serbia, just like many other places, there are women who face challenges related to access to menstrual hygiene products precisely for financial reasons. Through education, support, and promotion of access to menstrual hygiene products, Serbia can contribute to the global effort in the fight against menstrual poverty and improve the health and well-being of its citizens.
Bella decided to start a revolution and contribute to reducing menstrual poverty in Serbia with its initiative and actions. By supplying ladies’ restrooms with machines with free pads for ladies in educational institutions, Bella has initiated the change. Until now, free pads have been provided at Karlovac High School and at the Faculty of Political Sciences. We invite you to share this story with your families, friends, and acquaintances, and join the fight against menstrual poverty.
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