Period equity is a term used to describe the movement towards a world where menstruation is normalised and accessible to all, regardless of socioeconomic status, gender identity, or geographic location. At its core, period equity is about ensuring that everyone who menstruates has access to the resources and support they need to manage their periods with dignity, safety, and comfort.
It's not straightforward
At first glance, it might seem like period equity is a straightforward issue. After all, menstruation is a natural bodily process that affects roughly half of the world's population. However, the reality is that periods have historically been shrouded in secrecy, shame, and stigma. In many cultures, bleeding every month is seen as dirty or impure, and menstruating individuals are often excluded from certain activities or rituals.
In addition to cultural taboos, period equity is also complicated by the fact that menstrual products can be expensive and difficult to access. People are forced to choose between buying period supplies and other necessities like food, housing, or heating. In some cases, people resort to using makeshift products like socks or newspaper, which can be ineffective and even dangerous.
To address these challenges, advocates for period equity are working to change attitudes and policies around menstruation. This includes promoting education, advocating for free or low-cost menstrual products in schools and public spaces, and supporting initiatives that improve menstrual health and education in developing countries.
Thank you, Scotland
One major milestone in the fight for period equity came in 2020, when Scotland became the first country in the world to provide free menstrual products to all students in schools, colleges, and universities. This groundbreaking legislation was the result of years of advocacy by grassroots organisations like the Scottish Women's Rights Centre and the period poverty campaign.
Ultimately, period equity is about recognising that menstruation is a natural and normal part of human biology, and that everyone who has a period deserves to manage it with dignity and respect.
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