When will females in the United States get their due?
By Jada Poe
In the United States, our [women] voices at times are hushed and looked down upon.
They continually say it's a man's world that we are living in, but yet forget our grand
contributions to said world. How can this country swear it's equality throughout its land while
gender inequality continues to surge within. Feminine hygiene products such as tampons, pads,
and pantyliners, are among some of the menstrual items that the U.S. expects women to
purchase. While in reality not all women have access nor can afford these items.
The United States should not view menstrual products as luxury items when in fact they’re necessities that support women and young girls throughout their times of menstruation. Many women, young ladies, and even girls suffer from period poverty in the United States.
Period poverty can be defined as a lack of access to feminine hygiene products due to financial issues to which many turn to unconventional means in support of their time of menstruation. As a result, poor menstrual hygiene decisions are made, leading to one becoming more susceptible to serious health issues such as reproductive and urinary tract infections. In addition, according to some studies as of 2019, 1 in 5 girls in the U.S. leave school early or altogether choose not to attend on account of them not having the proper access nor funds to afford period products.
This unceasing list of issues could easily be avoided if the United States truly saw the essentiality of it rather than their viewed opulence of menstrual products.
Although progressive strides in menstrual equality in the United States can be seen in organizations such as Period Equity, it’s also evident that other countries have left the U.S. way behind in the movement. Scotland for example became the first country to ever have tax free feminine hygiene products, which sadly many are still fighting for in the United States. Moreover, Scotland not only requires local authorities to provide period products for free but they also established that colleges, schools, and designated public places must also supply “Freely available” period products.
Yes, the United States has made great waves as some states are officially tax free on period products, but it still stands that many individuals simply can’t afford these products. No one should have to scrap for menstrual products that are so crucial to the overall health of all women, ladies, and girls show no growth.
In all, the United States continues to fail to or even choose not to recognize the importance of the menstrual equity movement as many of their school systems and society itself show no growth. Of course, there have been significant changes but it's not enough for those who are still struggling to better their health. Those endless stories in which mother’s financial struggles forced them to choose between food and menstrual products could’ve been prevented at the hands of a country that prides themselves in equality. There is no true equality promised when the U.S. blatantly chooses to have many despairs over basic human rights. We as women, young ladies, and girls shouldn’t be grasping for such human rights, which should have been granted to us from the start.
Jada Poe, a senior at South Mecklenburg High School, is a Dual Enrollment student at Central Piedmont Community College taking English technical courses and British Literature, as well as working on her writing and inquiry skills.