Period Poverty


Period Poverty is something that affects people all around the word. Originally Period Poverty was only seen has an issue in countries with high percentages of poverty, but now more and more individuals are speaking up about their experiences with period poverty and how it has affected them, including people living in Ireland. Today over 1.2 million people globally cannot afford to buy sanitary product.

What is Period Poverty?

Well, Period poverty is when an individual does not or cannot get access to sanitary products needed during a period due to social and cultural reasons or more commonly financial difficulties. This can include individuals not having access to sanitary pads, tampons, menstrual cups, or pain relievers to help with cramps.

What are the Prices of Sanitary Product in Ireland?

Sanitary Pads Tampons

  • Supervalu €3.00 €2.69 – € 4.25
  • Tesco €2.50- €3.00 €2.69 – € 4.85
  • Dunnes €1.50-€4.00 € 3.99- € 4.70

Menstrual Cup

  • Boots € 19.99- €30
  • Amazon €14 – €20

Who can period poverty affect?

Period poverty can affect anyone at different point of someone lives. 53,000-85,000 are at risk of period poverty in Ireland there are groups that are at high risk of facing period poverty more than others.

Homelessness and Addicts

For people who are suffering with addiction and who are homeless on the streets, access to toilets and period products like pads are limited. Many people in these situations will rely on charities and donations for sanitary products like these, and once they do have access to these products, they will have to use public bathrooms or shared facilities in hostels to change their products. This means most people living on the street will have to use only one tampon or pad a day due to no access to toilets and to save the product they have for the next time they are needed.

Low-income households

One of the main reasons why people are experience period poverty is because they are not able to afford period products such as pads or tampons. This can be an issue for low-income households, it might be difficult for some families to include sanitary products with their budget. Younge individuals might who are on their periods may feel anxious or awkward about asking for them because of they are too expensive. And instead of being buy the products the individuals must try and find alternative ways to handle their period.

Direct Provision

People living in Direct Provision in Ireland have said in the past they had to pay for sanitary products and pain relief to use during their period themselves, using money from their allowance of €21.60 a week. This meant they had to choose between their period and other needs. Many direct provision centres have since said that the Department of Justice have now agreed to provide sanitary products. However, this is still an example of how a person can find themselves in period poverty because of their circumstances.

The Impact of Period Poverty?

50% of Irish girls ageing from 12 -19 have experienced not being able to afford sanitary products. 61% of individuals have skipped school, college and work due to their periods. It is because of fear and embarrassment that their periods will cause leakage because they do not have access to suitable sanitary product.

1 out of 10 individuals must pick less suitable options of sanitary product or find alternatives like tissue, socks, or towels. These alternatives can have negative effects to an induvial menstrual hygiene which can lead to Yeast infections, urinary tract infects, fungal infections and more. As well as physical problems and discomfort not being able to access suitable sanitary product may affect an individual emotionally and mentally. Leaving them in physical and emotional discomfort.

Although affordability is one of the main barriers of period poverty, research shows there is also a cultural and social reason why people cannot access period products. 61% of individuals feel embarrassed when discussing periods. The idea of asking someone for period products or to have to admit you are on your period still make majority of people embarrassed or ashamed. This is due to old fashioned stigma that is still in society today, where you are not supposed to openly talk about having your periods because it is dirty or should be kept a secret. This stigma has made it even more difficult for young people you have no adults or immediate family who have gone through menstruation and who can guide them through the experience. This stigma can make it difficult for people to ask for help when they need it.

How can we make a change?

No one needs to experience period poverty first-hand or even experience menstruation, to help people who are currently dealing with this issue. Here are several things you can do to help fight against period poverty.

Donate sanitary products to charities

Homeless charities around the country accept donations of pads, tampons, and menstrual cups to pass on to the people using their services. By donating, you can help to ensure that no homeless person goes without sanitary products when going through their period.

Speak up

Ending the stigma around periods is one way you can help those who live in period poverty. By normalising conversations about periods, period products, and the issue of period poverty itself will make it easier for those who need help to come forward and ask for it.

Ask for Free Supplies

Ask your college or workplace to provide free period products like pads and tampons in the bathrooms so that those who need them can access them without having to ask. This can be done for unisex bathrooms as well, by asking for products to also be made available in men’s and unsex bathrooms so that trans men who are still experiencing menstruation can also get the products they need.

Share the word

Anyone can share the word by posting campaign and information on your own social media pages to help end period poverty. You can also get in touch with your local councillors and TDs and ask them to bring forward policies that will address period poverty in your local area.


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