The Social & economic price of menstruation

  • Periods are still social taboo
    Historically, all religions (except Sikhism) placed restrictions on menstruating women, who were considered unclean and impure. This is the origin of a social taboo that still exist all around the world.
  • Blue Blood
    TV commercials have always shown a blue fluid pouring with advertisers self policing to avoid shocking the public with blood…gasp!
  • Artist Rupi Kaur posted a shot of herself taking a nap in period-stained pants. Instagram deleted the photo -twice
  • If men had period…
    “Menstruation will become an enviable, masculine event: Men would brag about how long and how much. Boys would mark the onset of menses, that longed-for proof of manhood, with religious ritual and stag parties.” Gloria Steinem

Being Female is (unjustly) expensive

  1. $120/year (on pads & tampons) + $20/year (on meds for period side effects) x 40 years (between puberty and menopause) =
  2. $5, 600 spent by a woman on her period in her entire lifetime.
  3. Did you know? The UK enforces a 5% tax on sanitary pads and tampons, considered as luxury items. Meanwhile, men’s disposable razors are not taxed

Menstruating Girls in the developing world pay a high social and sanitary pads
In the developing world, low access to pads, tampons and other feminine hygiene products have a direct impact on girls’ and women’s health, education and prospects.

  • 10% of Girls in Africa skip school during their period and eventually drop out as a consequence (Unesco)
  • 48% of girls in Iran believe their period to be a disease
  • 30% of girls in Afghanistan skip school during their periods.
  • 1/3 of the world has no improved sanitation at home. 50% of schools in developing countries have no toilets, in Nigeria, there is 1 for every 600 students.This can lead girls on their period to decide to skip school
  • In Kenya, half of the girls living in slums have sex with older men in exchange for pads, which puts them at risk for HIV and other STDs.
  • In India only 12% of women used pads in 2010, 70% could not afford them, 88% used old cloth, dried grass, ash, sand or newspapers instead, a practice potentially linked to higher rates of cervical cancer
  • Even when periods can’t be linked to a drop attendance rates, such as in Nepal menstruation may still cause girls to drop out as it may be seen as a sign of sexual maturity or preparedness for marriage


  1. Eradicating the taboo:
    Better sex education for young men and women can help reduce the stigma surrounding menstruation.
  2. Ending the female tax:
    Options such as menstrual cups or women underwear are still largely unknown by the public or regarded as unpractical, but are more budget- and environmental- friendly, and thus an interesting solution in both developed and developing countries


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