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Period Poverty Awareness

The following article is a brief discussion of Period Poverty, the Pink Tax, and other confusion around the topic of menstruation. If you would like access to free tampons, and pads know that they are free in the Food Pantry at the Downtown campus, as well as in the FAST Fund Office. They are courtesy of our partnership with the MKE Diaper Mission.

Period Poverty advocates with Alliance for Period Supplies

Periods are a significant part of the human experience for at least half of the world’s population. At least one person that you love gets a period, and while periods affect people differently, the cost of menstrual products can add up for everyone. In addition to costs, having a period can cause a person to miss out on opportunities, including work, that can cause a negative impact on the amount of money someone is able to bring in for themselves, and their families. These costs have been re-evaluated in the last decade, and are increasingly recognized under the term Period Poverty.

You may have heard of something called The Pink Tax (not to be confused with The Pinkprint - Nicki Minaj’s classic 2014 album,) this is the name given to the phenomenon wherein products traditionally intended for use by women are incredibly costly. Tampons and pads are considered “luxury items” and as such are taxed at a higher rate than other products (such as viagra.) This misunderstanding of their importance can be directly linked to the people in charge - typically men - who are not directly affected by this issue.

According to a 2023 Survey from

  • 1 in 4 students report having trouble affording period products

  • 1 in 3 adults report having trouble affording period products

  • 60% of adults say period stigma impacts their comfort with their body, and 46% are afraid their career growth could be negatively affected if they ask for accommodations. This dynamic is stronger with lower-income adults.

  • 75% of teens say there is a negative association that periods are gross and unsanitary, and 60% agree that society teaches people to be ashamed of their periods.

What can you do to help?

The diaper mission is often looking for volunteers, so I think that starting there is a great idea! Additionally, we can all do our part to help reduce the stigma around periods. They are a healthy part of a properly functioning body. So don’t make jokes, don’t ask a woman who you perceive to have an attitude if she is on her period, and if you have kids you should probably talk to them about it when you think they are ready!

Also: You may notice that we don’t refer to people who have periods in this article as “women.” It is absolutely true that the majority of people who menstrate are women, many nonbinary and trans men also have periods, and as such are not immune to period poverty! 

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