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Period Poverty.

2535 days. Nearly seven years. That’s the amount of time the average woman spends menstruating throughout her life. For the nearly 12 million women ages 12-52 across the country who live below the poverty line and can’t afford menstrual products, the stress and shame that comes with this lack of access just add to their struggle.

Period poverty is a harsh reality that has only gotten worse with the pandemic. Given women have been disproportionately affected by the 2020 economic downturn, un- and underemployment and increased childcare expectations have forced tough spending decisions, meaning menstrual products are simply out of the budget for many. Think about it: on average, a woman has her period from three to seven days and menstruates for nearly 40 years. If she’s lucky enough to be able to afford pads or tampons, she’d incur lifetime costs of up to $3,000. For many, if the choice is between putting food on the table or buying sanitary pads, feeding their family wins.

Government policies, or the lack thereof, have only made matters worse. Period products are not covered by assistance programs like WIC and SNAP, and 31 states don’t consider them a “necessity”. In Wisconsin, tampons are taxed but a gun club membership is exempt. In other states, lip balm, condoms, and even dandruff shampoo are considered necessary, but pads and tampons are fully taxed.

Let’s help level the playing field.

There are a few ways to help:

Get involved locally: 28 Days Project

Summit Marches On was honored to partner with the Presidential Inaugural Committee’s National Day of Service honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and celebrating the Inauguration of President Biden and Vice President Harris. We held a feminine products drive for 28 Days Project, a local organization that provides menstrual products to women in need in our community. 140 members of SMO and the larger community donated 13,000 feminine products and more than $3,000.

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