Period Shaming: 11 things you need to know about Newsweek’s latest cover story
If you haven’t already seen it, the April 29 cover of Newsweek was pretty groundbreaking. You can read it here.
Here are 11 things we learned from the story which highlighted period shaming around the world:
- Today in America, tampons and sanitary pads are taxed in most states while adult incontinence pads and crisps aren’t.
- America’s Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not require companies to list the ingredients in tampons. This is despite the average woman having a tampon inside her vagina for more than 100,000 hours over her lifetime.
- 500 million women and girls around the world do not have access to basic facilities during their period, according to a 2015 report from UNICEF and the World Health Organisation.
- There are over 5,000 slang terms for ‘period.’
- In rural India, 20% of girls drop out of school after they start their period.
- The global sanitary protection product market is worth $30 billion.
- The most significant product innovations over the past century are: disposable sanitary pads (updated 1969 with adhesive), commercial tampons (1930s) and menstrual cups (1980s).
- Californian women will save an estimated $20 million if a bill, introduced to exempt women’s menstrual products from sales tax, is passed later this year.
- In rural Nepal, some girls and women are banished to sheds when they have their period.
- Arunachalam Muruganantham is known as India’s Menstrual Man. He’s revolutionising life for thousands of women and girls with his invention: a machine that makes affordable sterilized sanitary pads.
- ZanaAfrica Foundation provides sanitary pads and education to girls in Kenya. This year, the charity was given a four year $2.6 million grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The money will fund a pioneering study looking at the impact of providing sanitary pads and girl-focussed reproductive health education.
The good news is, change is coming. Most prominently, in the UK, the tampon tax was recently scrapped, after 300,000 people signed a petition. We’ll be bringing you more on the people challenging the way we think about periods next week. In the meantime, what did you think of the feature? Let us know in the comments!