May is Period Poverty Month, and today kicks off our awareness week!
However, here at Red Lined, menstrual hygiene and period poverty are always top-of-mind. That’s because period poverty (the inability to access or afford supplies) and menstrual hygiene are deeply connected. Tackling these issues is crucial to building awareness and increasing access to period products. In this article, we'll explore the link between poverty and menstrual hygiene, the importance of education, how to have the period talk with your kids, and how you can help support menstruating folx by partnering with Red Lined!
Poverty occurs when people lack access to basic resources, such as food, clothing, and shelter, to maintain a decent quality of life. Menstrual hygiene, on the other hand, is about managing periods in a clean and healthy way. These two issues overlap in many ways, and it's essential to understand how they're connected.
The Consequences of Period Poverty
Period poverty occurs when people can't access or afford menstrual products, such as pads and tampons. This can lead to many problems, including health issues like infections, emotional distress, and missing out on school or work due to a lack of supplies. Many individuals resort to using unsafe alternatives (toilet paper, paper towels, and socks to name a few. An additional poverty is that misinformation and cultural taboos can make it challenging for people to discuss and address these problems openly. All of this, further exacerbates the issue.
Education – The First Step Towards Change: Education plays a vital role in preparing children for menstruation. Accurate and age-appropriate information helps them understand the changes in their bodies and how to manage them properly. Schools and families are responsible for providing this education, ensuring that children grow up with a healthy understanding of their bodies. However, sometimes we find that even parents are unprepared for these conversations, many times, the schools are underfunded OR the classes are taught by - "Health Teachers". I am not sure what that looks like in your schools, but for my child, should that be done by our "health teacher" - they'd be getting their information for an athletic male who mainly teaches gym class and has his degree in physical education, not menstrual health, or really - anything medically related.
A supportive and open environment encourages children to ask questions and express their concerns about menstruation. By fostering this atmosphere, we can empower them with the knowledge and confidence they need to manage their periods.
How to Talk About Periods with Your Kids
Discussing menstruation with children can seem daunting, but it's essential for their understanding and well-being.
Here are some tips for having open and honest conversations with your kids:
Creating a Supportive Environment
Encourage children to ask questions and express their concerns
Be approachable: Encourage your kids to ask questions and share their feelings.
Start early: Introduce the topic before they start experiencing periods.
for most children menstruation begins between 9-11 years old
Use simple language: Keep the conversation accessible by using easy-to-understand terms.
There are a ton of free resources to help with this conversation like this free e-book with free sign up Girlology.com : www.girlology.com/access-free-book
Address misconceptions: Gently correct any misunderstandings or false beliefs.
Learn how to drive change, and discuss the hard topics using some of these ideas!
We can preserve dignity by improving access to menstrual supplies and that is exactly what we are doing here at Red Lined. Having access to menstrual supplies is essential for preserving dignity and empowering individuals. We can help build a more inclusive and equal society by ensuring everyone can manage their periods safely and hygienically.
How You Can Help
You can help improve access to menstrual supplies by supporting Red Lined's mission. Here are some ways to get involved:
Your gifts help drive change by providing essentials throughout our community.
Volunteer for help fill bags here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/492523615819764
Start the conversation in your own community. Ask your school teachers and nurses about their plans for your children. Does your community pantry offer menstrual products, and if so, how are they obtained? Are there organizations already on a mission that can support your ideas?
Understanding the importance of menstrual hygiene, education, and breaking the stigma surrounding menstruation is crucial for creating a more inclusive and equal society. By addressing the connection between poverty and menstrual hygiene, we can work together to make a real difference in the lives of those affected by period poverty.
Red Lined is dedicated to tackling these issues through education, advocacy, and support. We encourage you to join the movement and help break the silence around menstruation. By supporting Red Lined's mission through donations or activism, you contribute to a brighter and more equitable future for everyone. Together we can make a difference—one conversation at a time.