The Sad Reason These Girls Are Skipping Class

Photographed by Tayler Smith.
Having your period at school can be painful and embarrassing. Imagine having to deal with those realities and not being able to afford the basic necessities to deal with it. This week, news came from New Zealand, via The Guardian, stating that girls are using things like phone books, newspapers, and rags as substitutes for sanitary products and many were simply skipping school altogether when they were on their periods.

The Child Poverty Monitor, a nonprofit that tracks poverty data, says that as of 2015, more than one in four children in New Zealand live in poverty. They also report that 14% of children in the country regularly go without the things they need.

That includes girls who can’t afford sanitary products. KidsCan is trying to make a difference. The nonprofit purchases items in bulk and then sells them at a greatly reduced price in an attempt to help girls deal with their periods and also stay in school so they don't miss out on activities and sports.

Menstruation and poverty are issues that impact girls and women around the world. In March, New York City Councilwoman Julissa Ferreras-Copeland announced an initiative to expand a pilot program that installs free feminine hygiene product dispensers in schools. In states and cities across the country, there are plans to eliminate the sales taxes on those items, often called the “tampon tax.”

All of these steps are movement in the right direction, but there is a long way to go. Having her period should never be the thing that gets in the way of a girl’s abilities.


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