What Is Period Poverty? How Does Economic Poverty Exasperate the Issue?

There are numerous answers to the question “what is period poverty?”. The International Medical Corps defines it as, “‘Period poverty’ refers to the inability of women and girls to access resources⁠—such as sanitary pads, water, soaps, medicines and sanitation facilities⁠—during their monthly menstrual cycle in a safe and dignified way.”[1]

Economic poverty plays a large role in this issue since needy women do not live in areas where the elements included in this definition are readily available:


Sanitary pads – Lack of sanitary supplies cause women to resort to newspapers, plastic, leaves, clothes, rags, feathers, cow dung, corn cobs and so on. When women have access to sanitary supplies, it provides safer solutions and more dignity too. Many organizations are teaching women how to make reusable cloth napkins and this is making a tremendous difference.

Clean water and soap – Safe water is crucial to good healthcare, and women need reliable access to water and soap in order to stay clean and reduce infection. These resources are important at all times, not just during menstruation.

Medicine – Pain management is important for many women during their periods. When these resources are unavailable, women miss school and work.

Sanitation Facilities – It is essential for women to have a place to take care of their hygiene needs in a safe and private space. When communities and schools lack toilets or private sanitation facilities, women suffer. “Approximately one third of schools around the world lack adequate sanitary facilities,” UNFPA reports.[2] That means girls are less likely to stay in school.

GFA World is working in Asia to serve women and girls. Through our healthcare training programs, women learn about their bodies. They, in turn, can teach their daughters more accurate information about what is occurring. This helps reduce the stigma that comes with menstruation.

GFA also works with girls through the Child Sponsorship Program where they are taught and mentored by caring women who can help teach them. They are also provided with hygiene supplies and taught how to use them.

GFA is committed to installing sanitation facilities in communities where they are not available.

Through these ministries, girls and women learn they have value and worth in the eyes of God. Their bodies are beautifully created. They are loved by God. Will you support our ministries that help women understand these wonderful truths?

Learn more about period poverty

[1] Sharma, Moushumi. “How International Medical Corps is Helping to Fight ‘Period Poverty.’” International Medical Corps. https://internationalmedicalcorps.org/story/how-international-medical-corps-is-helping-to-fight-period-poverty/. May 27, 2022.
[2] “Menstrual Health Management in East and Southern Africa.” UNFPA. https://esaro.unfpa.org/sites/default/files/pub-pdf/UNFPA%20Review%20Menstrual%20Health%20Management%20Final%2004%20June%202018.pdf. Accessed November 2, 2022.
* Cover Photo: “Bangladesh – Rohingya women in refugee camps share stories of loss and hopes of recovery.” UN Women. https://www.flickr.com/photos/unwomen/42674243664/in/photostream/. March 5, 2018.