Women and girls struggling with access to period products during #Covid-19, research shows 4 months ago

Women and girls struggling with access to period products during #Covid-19, research shows

"Serious issues with sanitation..."

Women and girls around the world are struggling to get access to period products during the Covid-19 pandemic, new research has shown.

A report published today by Plan International shows that women and girls in developing countries are experiencing restricted access to menstrual products since the coronavirus outbreak began.

Interrupted supply chains, product shortages, and restricted access to sanitary facilities are among the reasons why so many women and girls are struggling, with price increases also contributing to the difficulties involved in accessing period products in developing countries.

The 'Periods in a Pandemic' survey shows that 73 percent of women and girls agree that there has been restricted access to products, while over half state the cost of products has increased since the pandemic began.

51 percent say that they have experienced reduced access to clean water to manage periods, while 47 percent report a less hygienic environment for the disposal of products.

“As schools remain closed, the option for safe and reliable options to change and dispose of products, as well as support networks and reliable information, is now not an option for many," says Plan International Ireland’s CEO Paul O’Brien.

“In some cases, stigma and shame associated with menstruation is on the rise.  These issues existed before the pandemic, but we know that this virus has in many cases made the situation worse.”

Plan's new report is released on Menstrual Hygiene Management Day (May 28) in a bid to raise awareness for the countless women and girls still struggling with access to basic period products around the world.

However, it isn't just the developing world that has experienced issues with menstrual products during Covid-19 - many women and girls here in Ireland have also been subjected to similar issues.

A recent survey carried out by Plan Ireland shows that four in 10 women and girls in Ireland also report that period products have become harder to get during the pandemic.

One in five (18 percent) say they have encountered issues with finding information or people to discuss their periods with, while many survey participants state they do not want to burden their GP with an appointment.

75 percent of Irish respondents also say they are more concerned about managing their periods in lockdown in general.

“This survey demonstrates that Irish girls face shared challenges with girls around the world in realising their right to effectively and safely manage their periods during the pandemic," says O'Brien.

"As the restrictions lift, governments and businesses have an opportunity to hear girls’ experiences and improve access to sanitary products and support girls to manager their periods.”