On International Women’s Day last year, we fostered awareness about an issue impacting some of the female clients served by the Buckner Family Hope Center® in Kenya. We learned many females in Kenya struggle to find affordable feminine products and because of a lack of affordable options and limited education in general across the country, girls can miss up to one week of school per month and working women are at risk of missing one week of work per month.
Stop and think about a child in your life. Perhaps it’s your own child or that of a family member or friend. What would be the impact to that child if they had to miss one week of school per month? Would they fall behind in their schoolwork, like advancing reading levels or mastering new math concepts? Miss important school activities, like sports teams, and other special opportunities? Lose confidence from falling behind and being unable to participate like their peers?
Women’s labor force participation rate in the U.S. was 56.2% in 2020, a slight drop from 2019 due to COVID-19. What would be the impact in America if women had to miss a week of work per month? Do you know a working female where you live? How about a single working mother? Think about how a single mother’s income would impact her children if her check excluded one week’s wages every month. How would your own income be impacted if you lost one week of income each month?
Period poverty impacts women domestically and internationally
There are many components to period poverty. There’s the topic itself. It’s kind of like politics, life insurance, or other topics people may want to avoid because it can be controversial or uncomfortable to discuss. There could be a lack of concern because period poverty may not be an issue where you live or negatively impact anyone you know. And last, it could just be one of many, many issues affecting females, so it’s difficult to prioritize which issue gets your time, attention, and most importantly, your generosity.
However, we are happy to say, the response to last year’s Period Poverty campaign was amazing. Why? Because many females related instantly with how difficult it is to not have access to needed feminine products, especially affordable and easily accessible ones, and the impact to our global gender when girls and women aren’t able to be present or competitive in educational or income-earning opportunities.
From the campaign, we confirmed period poverty is not limited to just Kenya. We learned females right here in Texas are impacted by a lack of access to feminine products. The common denominator is poverty. Generational poverty is not solved overnight. How many generations did it take for women to earn the right to vote? How many generations did it take for women to build up to just 10% of Fortune 500 CEO positions? It takes time, resources and collaboration. How can our world be so technologically advanced that we are discussing the growing impact of artificial intelligence, but we still have people living in financial and period poverty – right here in the U.S.?
How can you help women experiencing period poverty?
While discussing solutions is the easy part … implementing and sustaining solutions is the hard part. So, what can we do right now? Right now, we have females in need. Girls shouldn’t have to miss school because they are experiencing a period. Working women shouldn’t have to miss a week’s wages for her family just because she can’t afford or access feminine products.
So, right now, what we can do is provide relief for females in need. Buckner sends humanitarian aid in a variety of ways to the countries where we operate, and feminine products are among that aid. Here are some actionable ways you can help today:
- Visit our Amazon wish list and donate feminine products directly to our humanitarian aid center in Dallas. This is where we prepare shipments for our different locations serving children and families, domestically and internationally. Shipments are scheduled to our different locations throughout the year. Any size contribution can help a girl stay in school or a working mother provide for her children.
- Donate funds that can be used to purchase feminine products for girls and women.
- Share this blog post with your friends, family or employer’s corporate social responsibility contact to help educate others and spread awareness. It will take many people and organizations working together to help those affected by period poverty.
Working together to make an impact
Do you know someone who works for a consumer products company that could collaborate with Buckner to help provide products to females in need, domestically and internationally? Are you aware of a women’s organization looking for a service project to connect to and help with? Do you personally want to shine hope to someone who needs it in the form of a product to empower them to go to school or earn money for their family? There are many ways to use your voice to connect to this important cause.
Let’s keep the conversation going.