Period Poverty

What Are Some Key Elements in the Period Poverty Definition?

There are numerous period poverty definitions, but they all have similar components. For example, one definition according to the American Medical Women’s Association is: “inadequate access to menstrual hygiene tools and education.”[1]

Most period poverty definitions and explanations have similar key elements, such as:

  • Lack of sanitary supplies – Period poverty has a lot to do with a lack of supplies. Women who don’t have supplies often resort to unsanitary measures that can lead to infection. Due to lack of supplies, women have little option other than to stay home from work or school.
  • Misunderstandings about menstruation – In many cultures, a woman’s period is considered dirty or even cursed. She is thought to be unclean, making the things she touches to be unclean as well.[2] Education is key to correcting these misunderstandings and myths.
  • Unavailability of sanitation facilities for women – Access to sanitation facilities is important to combat this issue. Women need a private and safe facility that is easily accessible to them. This is especially true in schools in developing countries due to significant dropout rates for girls when private facilities are not available.[3]
  • Poor education about menstruation – Men and women are often uneducated when it comes to menstruation and women’s health, which causes misinformation to spread. In order to combat this, education is key.

Period poverty impacts women in developed countries as well. For example, in the United Sates, two prominent groups struggle the most—students and homeless women.[4] There are strategies being considered by charities and educational systems to work with these two demographics.

GFA World works in parts of Africa and South Asia to help impoverished families and communities. We are also involved in the issue of period poverty and seek to help women learn their value and worth. Through healthcare classes, women learn important information about their bodies and reproductive health. They learn about hygiene and how teach their daughters as well.

Girls and teens in the Child Sponsorship Program find helpful mentoring from compassionate women and also receive hygiene supplies. The women missionaries and volunteers encourage girls to stay in school and explain how to make that dream a reality.

GFA missionaries are positioned around the communities and are able to help with community development, such as toilet and sanitation facilities, which enables girls and women to safely take care of their needs and allows them to go about their day uninterrupted.

Learn more about period poverty and what you can do to help in this important issue

[1] “Period Poverty.” AMWA. October 31, 2019.
[2] Rodriguez, Mariana Lopez. “Gendered-environmental transformations in global production networks: a study of the disposal of menstrual products in India.” Accessed November 2, 2022.
[3] “Focus on toilets key to reducing school dropout rate among girls. News 18. March 1, 2022.
[4] “Period Poverty.” AMWA. October 31, 2019.