period poverty graphic
Photo provided by Dr. McKenna-Buchanan

MU Students Create Campaign to Raise Awareness for Period Poverty

Kelsey Tyler

Manchester students are bringing attention to “period poverty,” and trying to stop it in the process.

Period poverty occurs when women do not have the financial access to necessary and safe period sanitation products. Flyers on campus show that women living in poverty use things such as plastic bags, socks, napkins and toilet paper, and even newspapers to control their periods. This is a serious issue as these products are not properly sanitized and can cause a woman even more serious medical conditions.

Indeed, it continues to be debated if women should even have to pay for period products. Women make up half of the world population and spend on average 2,535 days of their lives menstruating. If billions of people have to go through a completely natural bodily process, as well as need to keep themselves healthy with sanitation products, why should this be costing women?

American women are 38% more likely to live in poverty than men. If a woman only has $5 when period time arrives, they may need to choose between buying tampons and eating. If they choose food, they will need to find some sort of sanitation product to use or they will continually get blood everywhere.

The period poverty campaign at MU was a movement created by a group of college students in Dr. Tim McKenna-Buchanan’s Political Campaigns and Social Movements class. Lau Mejia, Megan Hite, AJ Shires and Alexis Quick were all assigned with the task of coming up with a campaign on campus. They chose to work as a team to cover period poverty because Mejia previously researched period poverty for an Honors conversion and they felt compelled to act on such a serious issue.

“We chose to do it in March because of Women’s History Month,” Meja explained. “Our initial goal was to raise $150 toward ending period poverty in our area, but we ended up raising a little over $700.”

Along with fundraising, Meja also mentioned the importance of raising awareness. “So far, I think the impact has been that more people at MU know about period poverty because we brought awareness to his issue here on campus,” she said. “It has inspired others to take the challenge to advocate for women and girls in poverty who cannot afford these basic necessities.”

To help out with this campaign, students can reach out to any of these group members for more information, or just continue to spread the word of this topic.