The Price of Period Poverty

Photo by Annika Gordon on Unsplash

What is Period Poverty?

Period poverty is the lack of access to affordable period care products such as pads, tampons, and menstrual cups. According to the University of Michigan School of Public Health, “In lieu of sanitary products, many people are forced to use items like rags, paper towels, toilet paper, or cardboard. Others ration sanitary products by using them for extended amounts of time. Period poverty encompasses not only this lack of access to products, but also inadequate access to toilets, hand washing receptacles, and hygienic waste management.” The use of unsanitary menstrual products and prolonged use of menstrual products can result in dangerous infections and Toxic Shock Syndrome. Period poverty is a public health crisis that MUST be prioritized.

Stigmas and Taboos

Affordable access to period care products is a basic necessity, a human right. So why is this public health issue being ignored? When you enter a public bathroom you don’t pay for toilet paper, so why are period care products not treated the same? Why are period care products not readily and freely available as well?

Times are Changing

Although period poverty persists, times are changing. In 2020, Scotland became the 1st country in the world to make all period products freely available! And beginning June 2021, New Zealand will be offering free menstrual products in schools to fight period poverty. In Canada, British Columbia issued an order to make period products free in all public schools! And across Canada, advocacy groups are calling for period care products to become freely available in all public buildings.

What’s Next?

We want to continue normalizing period conversations and building a supportive network for people who menstruate. To learn more about period poverty contact us at, subscribe to our newsletter, or connect with us on social media! If you love sustainable menstrual pads you can sign up HERE to pre-order your very own Ruth pads! Thank you for reading! Don’t forget to wear your masks, wash your hands, and stay safe!



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Dhanya Sivakumar

Dhanya Sivakumar

Writer at Ruth. Join the sustainable period care movement! Visit