New York has once again made history. This time they’ve done it by passing a law that promises access to menstrual products in public schools, homeless shelters and correctional facilities. They already beat the UK to passing an marriage equality act in 2011 when we slogged behind, passing one in 2013. And 2016 is the year of the period. New York ditched the tampon tax in May, and while George Osbourne has pledged to us that we too would ditch the tampon tax, that promise has still not materialised.
We’ve all had to do the odd stuff of toilet paper in our pants but imagine that being your everyday reality, every month. The LA Times reported that one out of five 12-17 year olds live in poverty which means they have difficulty affording sanitary towels and tampons. Not having access or having a limited amount and not changing them frequently enough does not only affect young women’s dignity it can seriously damage their health and possibly lead to toxic shock syndrome.
Women tend to be the minority amongst the UK’s homeless population with only ‘26% being clients of homelessness services’. However, they are highly vulnerable because often they have problematic mental health, substance dependencies and experiences of sexual abuse. Crisis conducted interviews that revealed 20% became homeless because they were fleeing violence from somebody they knew, 70% of them breaking from a partner.
In the latest season of Orange Is The New Black, we see the women of Litchfield scrambling for sanitary pads and tampons this isn’t just a fictional TV problem.
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Img: The Debrief