What is period poverty? A lack of access to period protection. It affects millions of people around the world, even in the most economically developed countries.
In the U.S. alone: 1 in 5 girls have missed school due to the lack of access to period products — that is more than 3.5 million girls.
Always’ brand purpose is built on the ability to foster girls’ confidence, especially during puberty. When someone isn’t properly protected during their period, it puts their confidence, dignity and education at risk.
For Niyazee, the issue hits home. “As a mother of a 12-year-old daughter, I am motivated to do more so she can enter puberty feeling supported and educated,” Niyazee said.
The Impact of Period Poverty in the U.S.
- Despite several U.S. states having increased action to help #EndPeriodPoverty, 56% of society believes they should do more to provide free products to those needing them.
- Of girls that have missed school because of period poverty, 49% of them say that missing school negatively impacted their academic performance, and 3 out of 5 tried to hide it from the people around them.
- Students who were more regularly absent in early years of school were less likely to vote, reported having greater economic difficulties and had poorer educational outcomes when they were 22 to 23 years old.
Finding and Providing Solutions
Since the launch of Always’ #EndPeriodPoverty program in 2018, Always has donated more than 235 million period products to those in need around the world, including more than 75 million in the U.S. in partnership with Feeding America® and other organizations.
However, donations alone cannot resolve the systemic issue of period poverty. The stigma surrounding periods can prevent those affected from voicing their needs and hinders potential solutions from being widely discussed and implemented. Meet the sisters helping to end period poverty.
Many people are unaware that period poverty is impacting the lives of girls in their very own neighbourhoods. Millions of people across our nation suffer from a lack of access to period products and are forced to forego educational or employment opportunities because of it. The lasting impact of period poverty goes into early adulthood and even plays into the overall economy.
To help address the ongoing need for period products, Always and International Paper — alongside congressional staff and Feeding America® — hosted an event in Washington D.C. on May 24, 2023, to drive awareness around the issue of period poverty and the need for legislative policy, while packing 600 kits with period products to be given to Greater DC Diaper Bank and Mary’s Center. As part of the event, Always recognized and honored the incredible work of Always Period Heroes. Period Heroes represent people and organizations across the U.S. who have already made significant efforts to address period poverty in their local area. Always recognized International Paper, Brooke and Breanna Bennett, Feeding America® and Congresswoman Grace Meng for their valuable contributions in our collective mission to help #EndPeriodPoverty.
More About Our Period Heroes
- International Paper: International Paper transforms renewable resources into recyclable products that people depend on every day — including pulp for personal care products. Throughout 2023, International Paper and Always will hold 50 period packing events at facilities across the country to ensure that people have the essential items they need to stay in school.
- Brooke and Breanna Bennett – Co-Founders of Women in Training, Inc: At just 15-years-old, twin sisters Brooke and Breanna ignited change in Alabama by helping to pass Alabama’s “period poverty” law in April 2022, which allocates $200,000 to the Alabama Department of Education to provide grants for menstrual products to students in Title I schools.
- Feeding America®: Feeding America® has been a long-standing partner of Always, working alongside them since the launch of the #EndPeriodPoverty program in 2018. The Feeding America® network of food banks serves families who face hunger and may not be able to afford basic non-food household goods including period products. Feeding America®, among other organizations, have helped to provide 75 million period products in the U.S.
- Congresswoman Grace Meng: Congresswoman Grace Meng is working to drive real systemic change and help #EndPeriodPoverty for good with the re-introduction of the Menstrual Equity for All Act – the first whole-of-government approach to address this issue.
CLICK HERE to learn more about how you can help end period poverty.
READ MORE STORIES ABOUT THE #ENDPERIODPOVERTY PROGRAM: