How To Combat Period Poverty This Holiday Season

Perspective of public restroom

Updated on January 12, 2024

More than 25% of the world’s population menstruates for a week at a time each month, needing important hygiene supplies like tampons, sanitary pads and proper menstrual waste disposal available at hand.

The trouble is many menstruators struggle to afford menstruation products and now with supply-chain issues and inflation prices period poverty is becoming more prevalent.

As we enter the holiday season, many girls, women, and menstruators will be asking themselves: can I afford the costs of meeting my own basic hygiene needs, while navigating the financial pressures that come with the holidays?

This isn’t a choice anyone should have to make – but it is the sad reality of many of our friends, neighbours, and relatives.

Fortunately, you can help this holiday season – and it’ll benefit your business to do so too.

By the end if this article you’ll know:

  1. The impact of period poverty
  2. How to support those living with period poverty during the holidays
  3. The benefits of menstrual product dispensers

The impact of period poverty

An estimated 500 million people globally are impacted by period poverty – which is the inability to afford menstrual hygiene products used to manage monthly bleeding.

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Typically, women buy a combination of products used to help manage their monthly bleeds, such as:

  • Menstrual pads (for day use, emergency use for unexpected periods in public)
  • Heavy-flow winged pads (for overnight use)
  • Panty liners (for light-flow or to protect clothing from spill-overs)
  • Tampons (for swimming, athletic activity, and general comfort to avoid pad-rash)
  • Dark underwear (black, used to avoid blood-spill staining on light coloured garments)
  • Pain medication to manage cramping
  • Heat packs to manage pain from cramping

Women may have any or all of these in her arsenal, depending on age, comfort-level, and financial situation. Many women use a combination of many or all of these products during each monthly period.

Added to that, the cost of eco-friendly and/or reusable menstrual products, such as menstrual cups, period panties, or organic pads and tampons, are typically much higher.

How much do periods really cost?

According to studies, the average annual cost to purchase the cheapest quality menstrual products is about $30.00 per woman.

However, the idea that menstruators purchase one bulk-pack of pads once a year at $30.00 a pack, is an outdated estimation.

On average, menstruators bleed once a month, for three to seven days, between the ages of 13 to 51, resulting in a total of about 456 total periods and about 2280 days of bleeding.

And yet, half of the US and most of the rest of the world still  tax menstrual products as “luxury items.”

Bleeding on average for 2280 days of your life is not a choice – let alone a luxury.

More recent estimations place the average annual cost for basic period product necessities at $168.00 and this does not include money for pain medications or extra products to manage heavy flow.

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How to support those living with period poverty during the holidays

There are many ways that you can help to combat period poverty during the holidays, or any time of the year.

Consider donating menstrual hygiene products to:

  • Local shelters
  • Elementary and secondary schools
  • Nearby universities
  • Mental health facilities
  • Local food banks
  • Victim services units at your local police or OPP stations

If you’re exploring ways to meet your end-of-year goals for charitable donations, consider making an online donation.

Consider installing Aunt Flow menstrual product dispensers in your washrooms. For every 10 products sold, Aunt Flow donates one product to menstruators in need.

Period positive partnerships

Want to do more to create a period positive space in your own workplace or public washroom?

Join us! Citron Hygiene, Aunt Flow, and Period.Org work together to combat period poverty on a daily basis by:

Citron Hygiene x Purse Project 

On November 21st. Citron Hygiene ran a Purse Project drive in Montreal and Ottawa with the respective police departments, providing women with a donated Purse filled with personal care items.

Menstrual hygiene units: period positive and financially beneficial

The average menstruator will use anywhere between 5 and 15 thousand pads and tampons throughout the course of their lives – most of which are not biodegradable.

About 20% of the materials flushed down toilets that result in high plumbing bills are sanitary napkins and tampons, often because there is no sanitary, touch-free, dignified disposal method in the stall.

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The average clog costs $185 to remove, with the maximum cost around $500. This number could be higher if the toilet has to be removed.

To avoid headache and plumbing costs, install dignified alternatives to menstrual hygiene disposal in your toilet stalls and washrooms.

The benefit of menstrual hygiene units

The time is fast approaching to set your personal New Year’s resolutions – and your business’s human resources goals for 2023.

Let menstrual hygiene units be the gift you give to your employees and public washroom visitors this year.

As an added bonus to making a difference in the lives of your customers, there are also financial benefits to businesses that make the installation of menstrual product dispensers mutually satisfying.

When you install menstrual product dispensers in your public or workplace washrooms, you have the benefit of showing your employees and customers that you care about creating a period positive space.

If your business resides in the United States, explore the Title IX financial subsidy designed to help your business create period positive spaces.

Find out how we can elevate your washroom experience today.